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    Re: Clueless' Picked Up at Sea... Again
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2000 Aug 14, 3:36 AM

    Tony  wrote-
    
    >=
    >August 11, 2000 2:51 pm EST
    >
    >LONDON (Reuters) - An amateur sailor, described as "clueless" by his
    >rescuers, was picked up at sea by British coastguards for an 11th time --
    >just two days after being rescued as he navigated with a road map.
    >
    >Eric Abbott, 56, ran aground in his homemade boat off the north coast of
    >Wales Thursday as he tried to sail across the Irish Sea from Anglesey,
    >British newspapers said.
    >
    >It was the same area where the unemployed painter, from Northwich in western
    >England, had been picked up 48 hours earlier. He has now agreed to take
    >navigation lessons after the bailouts that have cost more than $82,520.
    >==
    >
    >Can our UKers verify this story?
    >It was received from a trusted friend.
    >
    >Tony
    ===========================
    
    George Huxtable replies-
    
    All too true, I'm afraid, maybe even worse. I understand that he has
    required some sort of rescue ten or more times this year.  He has since
    required further assistance in untangling his anchor chain from moorings.
    He has appeared on TV interviews, and been quoted with the breathtakingly
    arrogant statement- "My boat is seaworthy but if you come to a point in the
    dark and it isn't easy to see your way, then you need help. That's the job
    of the RNLI".
    
    The RNLI is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and some US readers
    may not realise that the RNLI, which takes on the job of rescue at sea in
    UK waters, is not part of the coastguard as it would be in the US, but is a
    charitably funded body quite independent of government. Lifeboats are
    manned by volunteers from all walks of life. When the RNLI are seen to be
    rescuing idiots like this, it seriously dents their image to the public.
    
    Another unfortunate aspect of this case is that so far there has been no
    requirement at all for any standard of competence, or standard of boat and
    equipment, in order to put to sea from the UK. This may surprise readers in
    the US, NZ, and indeed France, but it has caused very few problems in the
    past, and the need for such regulation has never been demonstrated to the
    extent of making its administration worthwhile. For example, I have never
    been asked to take take any test to show my competence in seamanship or
    navigation, or show that my own little sailing cruiser is safely equipped.
    However, idiots such as Eric Abbott demonstrate the need for some way of
    keeping him and his like firmly land-bound, and may spoil the game for the
    rest of us.
    
    Fortunately, his is a rare case. In general, I would say that a more
    frequent problem occurs when some captain of industry spends his salary
    bonus on an expensive and powerful motor cruiser, and proceeds to take it
    to sea as if he were driving a car. He relies on his expensive gadgets,
    which he barely understands, to keep him out of trouble. Being a captain of
    industry, there's no way of persuading him that he needs to learn first.
    (Perhaps I have allowed some of my prejudices to show a little in this
    paragraph.)
    
    Abbott has been offered a course in seamanship and navigation, free of
    charge. But sadly, I doubt whether that's going to do much good. Not with
    his attitude of mind.
    
    George Huxtable.
    
    ------------------------------
    
    george---.u-net.com
    George Huxtable, 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    Tel. 01865 820222 or (int.) +44 1865 820222.
    ------------------------------
    

       
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