In our years of cruising, we often meet dream that end up like nightmare.I would say that in every port we have found a couple selling their boat for just a airplane ticket to go home, often when their retirement fund was use to buy the boat.

Please, movie are not like truth at all, and sailing is a skills which even with the fancy electronics of today, can’t be replaced.Learning the hard way is not made for everyone, except for those that love suffering by nature.

I do not say it is not available to anyone, but it need to be learned by small step and preparation. You may wonder why the hell I am saying all that, well this weekend the old boat from a good friend was abandon at sea and badly damage.

Constellation, a Contessa 26, sailed from England to Australia singlehanded with no issue. The new owner that bought it filled with wet dream and no (By the look of the story) experience tried a small offshore passage and asked by Epirb to be evacuated when the boat was doing fine.

Salvage by a fisherman the boat was badly damage during the rescue mission and not before.

You may find myself rude talking this way, but I just have seen enough of people losing a lot thinking that cruising are like movies…  If this is your dream please prepare, try the boat, go daysailing often doing longer trip everytime which will end up as a nice adventure.

You can read the whole story of what happen here:

5 Comment

  1. Peter says: Reply


    I’ve just come across your site while looking for a 26ft boat to cross oceans. I read your post about the loss of your friends old boat, and out of interest followed the link. Having read this gentleman’s full account, I can only agree with your comment that he obviously had little (if any)experience. There is a saying don’t leave your boat until you have to step-up to get into the liferaft!! It is said with a little humour, but the principal is sound. I will now follow your site to watch your progress and look forward to seeing your new boat get splashed. Kind regards Peter

  2. william says: Reply

    I agree with a lot you say i would not like to have been in his shoes the entrance of Port Phillip Bay is one of the worst in the world and to top it off he was in Bass straight fear got him and i know it would have got me to

  3. Stephane, I enjoy reading your blogs, so just want to take this opportunity to say thanks. Regarding the abandonment of Constellation by its new owner I was somewhat surprised when I first read the story. However, I recently came across Skip Allen’s (a very experienced single hander from Santa Cruz, CA) own account of his abandonment of Wildflower, an custom built Wylie 27 just after winning the 2008 Singlehanded Transpac. Skip was caught in a gale on the way back from Hanalei to Santa Cruz. The wave height was 18′-22′. He was not injured and Wildflower did not take on water or have any significant damage. He had his life raft in the cabin. After much deliberation and discussion with his long time sailing friend, ham radio contact, router, navigator and weatherman, Joe Buck in Redondo Beach Skip decided to call for rescue.

    I am not sure what caused these sailors (single handers in these two instances) to call for help other than the fear that they and/or their boats are not up to the tasks of surviving the gales. It will be interesting to conduct a study of all boats abandoned where the boats were not damaged and the crews did not have life threatening injuries or illness.

    1. Stephan Tremblay says: Reply

      thanks for your comment.

      Before meeting Catherine I was single handing all my boats, and it is sure a total different story then with a crews. Keeping care of the boat is as important that keeping care of yourself and morale. People sometime laugh when I say to bring a few food treat, some funny movies or anything to cheer you up can save your life.

      The main aspect to offshore cruising is: You can’t put a stop, jump in your car and put a end to it when you have enough. Sadly EPIRB begin to be use for that, and this is not what it was created at all.

      The Constellation story was this but also a big lack of experience with the boat, in sailing and preparation. What I do not like is he actually activated the Epirb, and talked with his sister on the phone while waiting for rescue. So he did have plenty of time to relax, change is mind etc… Specially that the wind was not bad, either the sea and the boat was 100% fine (It was damage after the abandon).

      Like you’ve said it sure would be interesting to do a study about it. We are human after all, not everyone can control is feeling…

  4. Kevin Falvey says: Reply

    Bad seamanship, inexperience and no prep. The good may be in others seeing this story and making more realistic assessment of themselves.

Leave a Reply