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In­toTheS­torm con­trasts the ac­tions of two skip­pers in Hur­ri­cane Joaquin. One saved his crew. The other didn’t.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Two ships sank dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Joaquin. On one, all crew were safe and ac­counted for. The other wasn’t so lucky.

On Oc­to­ber 1st, 2015 two ships sank dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Joaquin, a mon­ster Cat­e­gory-4 storm that dev­as­tated sev­eral dis­tricts of the Ba­hamas. The 790-foot El Faro trag­i­cally went down with all hands, but the crew of the smaller 230-foot Mi­nouche sur­vived thanks to the lead­er­ship, crit­i­cal de­ci­sion­mak­ing skills and brav­ery of both her skip­per and a U.S. Coast Guard he­li­copter res­cue team fly­ing out of Great Inagua. In Into

The Storm, a re­cently pub­lished book that reads as much like a fast-paced thriller as a straight­for­ward ac­count of what took place aboard each ship just prior to its sink­ing, Mi­ami-based jour­nal­ist Tris­tram Korten of­fers a host of lessons that will likely prove use­ful not only to mod­ern ship­mas­ters but to cap­tains of recre­ational ves­sels as well.

Korten’s ap­proach is far from heavy-handed. For most of the book he sim­ply ham­mers out the facts, based on record­ings of con­ver­sa­tions that took place in the El Faro’s wheel­house as well as nu­mer­ous in­ter­views with Coast Guard op­er­a­tives, sur­vivors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of a va­ri­ety of in­ves­tiga­tive en­ti­ties and agen­cies.

Some of the facts are flat-out shock­ing. For ex­am­ple, ac­cord­ing to Korten, although the El Faro was within a few miles of the storm’s eye dur­ing the early hours of Oc­to­ber 1st, with no propul­sion, a wicked list and 30- to 40-foot seas down­flood­ing her holds, Capt. Michael David­son (an aloof “cabin cap­tain” who’d ig­nored the weather-re­lated con­cerns of two ju­nior of­fi­cers) did not send a dis­tress mes­sage to the Coast Guard un­til

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