The other day a reader informed me of some distressing if belated news on the fate of a fellow navigator.
Bodo Rufenach , the sailor in question, was my neighbor during Eileen’s several week stay in Las Palmas Gran Canaria. While he largely kept to himself (understandably, we were all rather busy making our final preparations for the big crossing), I recall snippets of conversation with him on topics as varied as wind vane design, boat names, and cockroach infestation prevention. He was clearly a sensible and experienced yachtsman. I’d never entertained the slightest doubt that he would arrive safely in the Caribbean…
At the time I’d placed a link to his website from my blog, but I’d not kept up with his travels, only now discovering that he was if fact, lost at sea.
His yacht ( a superbly maintained a steel Van de Stad 34 called “Balu”), was found adrift near Martinique with no-one aboard.
Why do I mention this now?
Because perhaps I’ve been guilty of trivializing lengthy passages at sea. Despite my laid-back approach to sailing, I know that one can never be too careful. It’s not just horrendous weather that navigators need worry about. The most trivial distraction at an inopportune time can have equally dire consequences. Especially when you are alone.
While cruising is largely about risk management, there remains an element of luck.
We make our preparations and roll the dice. Despite the probabilities, some individuals seem to have more than their fair share of rolling a double six.
Others tragically less.
Fair winds Bodo.