There but for the grace of the Flying Spaghetti Monster go I.
Good news - but a sobering reminder - from England.
On Friday 27 January a lone dinghy sailor was plucked from the sea west of Hurst Castle as he was being swept out through the Needles Channel. The Yarmouth RNLI lifeboat had been called by the coastguard following a radio call from a passing yacht.
The dinghy had been dismasted off the Starting Platform at the entrance to the Lymington River about an hour earlier... By the time the RNLI lifeboat found him he was half a mile west of Hurst Castle in failing light and a strong westgoing tide.
As someone who likes to go sailing my Laser on my own this is my nightmare scenario. I am sailing somewhere that seems relatively safe and familiar (in this case the entrance to a river), I suffer some kind of breakdown like a dismasting (as here), and without any way to sail the boat I am swept out by currents into more dangerous and unprotected waters.
According to the report on the RNLI website, this particular sailor was "carrying no form of communication" and "was very fortunate to have been spotted before dark." Would he have ever been found if not for that radio call from a passing yacht?
I must admit I have been guilty of the same sin myself, as I have regularly been sailing the bays around Rhode Island on my own without carrying any form of communication. I continued to do that even after writing that mammoth post last April on safety for a solo Laser sailor which recommended that I should be carrying a "portable, floating, waterproof VHF radio."
Thankfully Santa (in the form of son #1) was reading that post and he gave me for Xmas a Standard Horizon HX290 floating handheld VHF radio.
I feel much better now about sailing on my own, knowing that if something really bad does happen I do have a way to call for assistance. Given the mild weather we have been having lately I'm even tempted to go for a bit of a solo yot someday soon.
By the way, can anybody identify what kind of dinghy that is in the picture of the rescue?