WHAT WE LEARNED
■ Communication is key. The ability to exchange information with rescuers can save your life. Take a satphone, a device like Iridium Go, Garmin Inreach or
SPOT X, and watertight bags or cases for phone or tablet. ■ Don’t panic. We went through the stages one by one – identify and try to stop the leak, send the emergency signals once we were sure the boat could not be saved, communicate with the authorities, add other equipment and supplies to the grab bag we had already packed. We were lucky in that the boat was not about to sink. Had One Tree Island been a monohull, I’m sure we’d have been in the liferaft within an hour.
■ Expect the unexpected. The hardest thing to defend against on a small boat is hitting something you cannot see. You won’t see objects that are just awash until you are literally on top of them.
■ Stop the leak. Could we have saved the boat? Willy comments: “Of all the safety gear, tools and spares on board, I had nothing to plug a hull breach of this size and shape (two narrow 8in cracks, perhaps an inch wide at the middles). I had three or four JB Weld epoxy putty sticks, I needed 20 times more!
“It is so frustrating that I had no solution to plug a simple, fully accessible hull breach! What I needed was a six-pack of cricket ball sized epoxy putty balls. Knead for two minutes, stuff it into or over the hole, hold while curing, repeat until the leak is plugged: simple. Why is there no such thing on the market?”