Nine-hundred miles off the Mexican coast, the Kaufman family had no choice but to sink the boat that has been their home for the past seven years. I don’t know whether they carried hull insurance (we don’t carry hull insurance for Del Viento). I don’t know their financial situation (though I know they saved for years to make this attempt at their dream a reality). But I do know that a friend is soliciting financial support on their behalf. If you’re inclined to help the family with a donation, the information is here.
I’ve seen still pictures from their rescue and read the error filled news reports of their circumstances. I’ve read strong negative bias in news reports about the family’s decision to sail across an ocean with their children. I’ve read hateful comments from lay persons all over the internet. All of it hits close to home. For me and other cruisers I know, it evokes a bunch of emotion.
In _The Right Stuff_, author Tom Wolfe describes test pilots’ responses to the crashes of fellow pilots, a defensive response that tended to always assign blame to the other, fated pilot, as opposed to the experimental aircraft. This mindset was their assurance that they were in control up there, that so long as they had the skill to fly the plane, so long as they were better than the guy who bought the farm, they would be okay.
I tend towards the same mindset and have processed every bit of information I can from what is yet known of Charlotte’s and Eric’s circumstances, in the context of how I would have done better or done differently. But the truth is, I am no less likely to commit errors or fall prey to rotten luck than they are. That’s not to say that I don’t aim to make our own ocean crossing passage one day, just that it could have been us out there too.
I wish the crew of the former Rebel Heart all the best.
Update, April 10, 2014: Charlotte has posted to the Rebel Heart blog with her gratitude to the rescuers and supporters. Read her post here.