REFLECTION: Thoughts after a tragedy

Published on March 15th, 2013

By Len Bose, Daily Pilot
Most of you have read about the tragedy that took place in the Islands Race (on Mar 8), when one soul was lost while competing in a sailboat race around our local (Southern California) island. I competed in the race, and on my return home, I was greeted with plenty of hugs and attention from both my wife and son. While assuming my king’s chair in front of the TV, I reflected on the personal mistakes I had made during the race.

My biggest blunder was that I had not checked my own equipment. My foul-weather gear pants had a rip in them that allowed me to get wet, which means I got cold. My footwear had rotted away and I was leaving pieces of my shoes around the boat. I did not rush to my heaviest foul-weather coat when we went through our first rain squall of the day. Later that night, when I went below for a quick hour’s nap, I left my all my foul-weather gear on. These mistakes all made me wet, sweaty and very cold when I came back on deck.

I thought further into my mistakes. I should carry a shape sailing knife, personal flares, whistle and, if I was really smart, a waterproof hand-held VHF radio in my offshore foul-weather jacket. I still need to check my CO2 cartridge in my life harness and replace the pellet that automatically inflates the harness if I am submerged. I can’t help but think that a sky diver packs his own parachute, with his personal safety in mind, before each jump. I better start packing my own sea bag with the same type of personal attention to safety. It goes without saying, I will be one of the first ones to sign up for Orange Coast College’s next safety-at-sea seminar.

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