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Being forced to abandon ship in the middle of the Atlantic, the thought of that should strike fear into most sane mariners. Oceans are vast, and life rafts seem pretty insignificant and flimsy when seen bobbing around in them. Unfortunately, leaving their boat/slash home to enter a life raft is exactly what one family recently did, and understandably, it made the news here in the Caribbean.

BOLO – Be on the lookout

Keep a lookout for the sailing vessel Dove II,” that’s what mariners in the Eastern Caribbean were instructed to do. The rough story I received was that a family had been forced to abandon ship mid-Atlantic, and that their boat was left to drift on its own. Without delving in to the details of exactly what went on, I shared the news post on our Facebook page, hoping to spread the word for those involved. As you might imagine, the story brought out all the armchair sailors who were quick to pass judgement from the safety of their warm and stable houses, or their comfortable salons.

Credit to Monday Never for the excellent video.

This morning I watched a video put together by the folks from Monday Never who were onboard the vessel Tilly Mint, the yacht that rescued the displaced family. It’s a well-done video, and one worth watching, as it contains a number of lessons. In my opinion, the people involved with the rescue did a great job, and have my complete respect. The back side of the story — what went on prior to the rescue — can be found on the Coombes family’s website.

Before you post a comment with some “They should have done this…” admonition, make sure that you first watch the video, and read the family’s account of the incident in its entirety. And then truly ask yourself, what could you have done differently?


  1. Thank you so much for sharing! Hopefully with all of us working together, we can help this wonderful family get their boat back. – Lots of love, Cat (Monday Never)

  2. There is video by s/v Delos on YouTube which details their abandon ship procedures, and of course the movie “All is Lost” shows a well prepared sailor working through many problems. They appear to be totally unprepared for an ocean crossing (or worse). Mike has a post about emergency rudders written some time ago, read it. I suspect they don’t have a Jordan series drogue, paper charts, can navigate without GPS, 6 months food and water, a plan to deal with a large hole in the boat and many other things I consider essential for even a short ocean voyage . People seem to think they can expect help on the ocean, don’t. You need to plan to be totally self sufficient. I could be much harsher but I will stop now, just my 2 pence worth….

  3. >>You’re kidding about the “All is Lost” movie, right?
    yes and no, by that I mean the movie is Hollywood at its worst. It does show some safety aspects that I consider important many readers probably ignore.
    1) Do you have fiberglass repair material on board or a suitable replacement (like carbon fibre squares of tape 1m square) so you can make it to port.
    2) Can you climb the mast? if you haven’t done so before leaving on the voyage the middle of the ocean is not the place to learn, Do you have the equipment on board to do this?
    3) Expect and plan for a major issue(s) and you won’t lose your home.

    To be clear about my last statement, even if their boat is found afloat…. once it is abandoned it is considered salvage. They no longer own it.. Sorry to be un-PC.

    • Bill. While the things you mention are valid, that movie was horrible! I couldn’t stop screaming at the TV. They could have paid ANY 1st-year cruiser a case of beer to consult with them and it would have ended up better.

  4. no arguments, I said it was Hollywood at its worst. So much misinformation and drama. Try lighting a flare in a rubber boat, slag will…. you know the story. You won’t ever get me in a life raft to die. Made my boat unsinkable, not Titanic unsinkable the real deal.

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