, Salem, MA

Local News

March 15, 2013

Heard Around Town: And now a word from a sailor rescued at sea


“The capsize was a result of a rigging failure (despite a check-out of all systems prior to setting out) at the same time as a significant gust leading to a massive destabilization of the CG-CB balance in an otherwise very stable platform. ... Thus, error/lesson-learned No. 2: No system is infallible, and Murphy will ultimately have his way, so always plan for the worst-case scenario!

“Once immersed, I immediately activated my inflatable PFD (personal flotation device) and proceeded to attempt to right the boat ... error/lesson-learned No. 3: Protocol should have demanded that, given the conditions, attempts at retrieving the VHF and placing the mayday should have been effected first!

“Hypothermic shock and the bulkiness of the inflated PFD with harness system made it impossible to gain sufficient purchase/leverage to return the boat to its upright position but, somewhat delirious and being given to an unfortunately overdeveloped sense of self-reliance, I sure expended way too much time, energy and body heat (upon arrival at hospital, body temp was measured at 87 F) in the attempt.

“At the end of the day, I’m at fault, of course, for not having exercised sufficient prudence in my personal preparations and having overly relied on my own sense of accomplishment. I hope, though, that this can be a lesson as well to other mariners. But if one does get into trouble, then VHF and Salem harbormaster, police, fire, ambulance and hospital are simply indispensable and the very best! Thank you again all for saving my life. Stay safe on the water, and remember the adage that ‘though you may love the sea, she does not love you!’ “

Papal Paula

Since we don’t plan on doing any work in this week’s column, let’s hear from correspondent No. 2 in Vatican City.

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