All is Lost

10:36 p.m. on February 22, 2014 (EST)
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This is one of those topics that strictly speaking is off the topic of this forum, but the fundamentals are quite relevant -


I just watched "All is Lost", an indie movie starring Robert Redford. The basic story is that "Our Man" (the character played by Redford is never named) is an older man who for unstated reasons is sailing solo across the ocean. As the story unfolds, we learn that he is well-equipped and overall very knowledgeable in sailing. When the movie opens, he reads us something he has written (virtually the only dialog in the entire movie) to the effect that "I am sorry, but I am sure you know that I tried, I really tried ... but now All is Lost". We then go to 8 days earlier to see him rudely awakened by a jolt and loud noise, awakening him to see water pouring into his boat through a hole. A title says he is 1600 miles from the Sumatra Strait. Investigation shows that a shipping container has apparently fallen off a ship  and run into the side of his sailboat (one of those large boxes that are packed full of goods, stacked onto a container ship, and transported between continents, then placed on trucks and rail cars for final delivery). He makes use of his sea anchor to pull the container out of the side of his boat. The story unfolds from there as one thing after another goes bad - he uses his skills to patch the hole, deal with monstrous storms (typhoon?) that roll his boat upside down then rightside up, finally demasting his boat. He tries calling for help on his radio, which has been flooded with salt water, with the batteries failing, also from getting submerged in the water that came in through the container hole and during the storms. With the batteries dead, he has to handpump the water out of the inside of the boat. During another storm, his boat is further damaged, so he inflates his liferaft, eventually cutting it loose as the boat finally sinks. He teaches himself celestial navigation (he had good book and an excellent sextant with him - which prompts the question - have you ever really spent the effort to learn all those survival skills, or did you just sit through a course or read a book, leaving it at that?). His navigation tells him he is crossing into a major shipping lane - perhaps he can get rescued by a ship. If a ship comes by, will it even notice him in a little bobbing life raft in the middle of a huge ocean.

I won't tell you the details of how the movie ends, except to note that you can interpret the ending in at least 3 different ways.

This is a very different situation that the Tom Hanks "Castaway" or "The Life of Pi", in that he has no companions. Hanks had "Wilson" (the volleyball), and Pi has the tiger. Besides, both of them had fortuitous landfall on islands. But Our Man is alone, and there are no islands for a thousand miles in any direction.

It raises the question of "what would I do in such a situation, where I was alone and something disastrous happens that I can't just get help in the nominal 10 minutes that a 911 call gives, and that I can't just walk or paddle or sail for a couple days to safety". Do I reach a point where I just give up because "All is Lost"? What is that point? Aaron Ralston persisted to the point that he used a dull knife to cut off his arm. But at least once he did that, he only had a short walk to get help (no drifting in hopes that you cover the 1600 miles of friendly ocean currents). Do I have the knowledge and skills (and gear) to keep on trying to survive against overwhelming odds?

10:58 a.m. on February 23, 2014 (EST)
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Interesting subject and movie, I would like to see this.

How about that guy recently who spent supposedly 13 months drifting from near Mexico to the Marshall Islands. 

http://giessy.com/man-lost-at-sea-claims-he-drifted-13-months-in-pacific/#sthash.VGh67UY2.dpbs 

I am not sure if I could cut off my arm to save myself like Aaron Ralston did. But in most wilderness area's that I have hiked the last 40 years I think I would be abe to handle most anything else. 

Worse thing that ever happened to me was getting caught in a unpredicted snow storm on Glacier Point in Yosemite  in January 1980 and having to stay tent bound for 3 extra days on a two day hike, with no food, melting snow water and finally being rescued by the NPS when I didn't return on time. My feet froze because my boots had gotten wet and froze solid and could not put them on the second morning.  I snowshoed  out to a clearing where I got on board the helicopter in my down booties. I had to leave all my gear in my tent and retrieve them a few days later via the Glacier Point Trail. I had hiked to the point originally on the road from Badger Pass.

After being rescued and taken to Yosemite Valley I was examined at the medical clinic and my core temperature had dropped to 93 degree's. The nurse told me I may not had survived another night had the storm not ceased after 5 days in my tent. Or I would/could have gone into a coma as my hypothermic body shut down all blood flow to my arms and legs.

Since then I have done fairly well in wilderness country not having any other major problems.

Curious how/why he got so close to a container ship to have a container box fall on his boat, or I guess it was floating in the water and he ran into it? I have heard about the container boxes failing off in rough sea's but always figured they would just sink?

11:02 a.m. on February 23, 2014 (EST)
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I would like to think that I have the fortitude to fight to the bitter end - but I have never had to. I have been lost a couple times, hurt once, very sick a couple times, but never in an impossible situation.

A great question though, especially when put in the context of the soft padded safety rail world many of us live in with help a phone call away.

12:49 p.m. on February 23, 2014 (EST)
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Gary, the container that ran into Our Man's sailboat and punched a hole in it was floating far from normal shipping lanes. Judging from what I could see of his maps as he marked the positions he determined with his sextant, he was a couple hundred miles out of the shipping lane he eventually crossed after a week or so of drifting with the currents.

I have read the reports of the guy who drifted from Mexico to the Marshalls. Something does not add up about his story when I read it. I don't have complete information, of course, but the various authorities who have been investigating have pointed out several inconsistencies. Then again, if you have been stranded and drifting for over a year, part of the time without food or fresh water, you could well misremember a lot of what went on.

1:29 p.m. on February 23, 2014 (EST)
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I am watching the movie now on www.VIOOZ.com 

http://viooz.co/movies/23372-all-is-lost-2013.html 

Boy I would not like that being at sea with 1000's of miles of deep ocean between me and land. Braver than I! 

I am where he has entered the storm. And when he went up the mast on the chair it reminded  me of hanging over the side of the ship I was on in the Navy to chip and repaint the hull. I didn't like doing that not one bit!

I can see why there's no dialog, unless we heard him thinking there no one to talk to, tho I would be thinking/talking out loud to myself as I do when alone outdoors.

I was on the sea for just a few months in the Atlantic in the Navy 1975-76 and have never wanted to go back aboard a sailing vessel. I did ride a ferry from Valdez to Seward AK in 2006 during a bicycle tour. 

4:57 p.m. on February 23, 2014 (EST)
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Bill S. : You raise a lot of interesting questions. Thanks!

Gary: Thanks for the link to the movie!

I'd recommend watching the film before reading the rest of my comments - I don't want to ruin your fun!

About the movie- I have been offshore in a 29 foot sailboat of my own (offshore legs in a Victoria-Panama-NYC trip) and as crew on a 32-footer (NovaScotia - Greenland-Labrador)-both trips double-handed- and I found the film unbelievable from the start. There wasn't a single detail that rang true...either in the incident that started the epic, the boat gear and preparation, or the reactions of the Redford character.....which isn't surprising, since the author/director (Chandor) had only a few days of sailing experience as a (very) junior crewman. I'd be interested to see comments from other folks who have sailed offshore.

But, it's a 'ripping tale' for folks who haven't 'been there'....not the sort of thing you show your family when talking about your offshore ambitions. ;-)

I was lucky that 'A Perfect Storm' hit the big screen AFTER my offshore trips!

11:40 p.m. on February 23, 2014 (EST)
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The plot isn't exactly farfetched, based on two recent events - first, the fellow who was lost at sea that Gary referred to, and second, a Maersk vessel recently dropped over 500 of its containers into the water during a storm in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France and Spain.  I'm led to believe that reefer containers, refrigerated cargo, can float for days or weeks.  http://www.maerskline.com/en-us/countries/int/news/news-articles/2014/02/svendborg-maersk-incident

on a few occasions, I have been lost due to adverse weather, fog or white outs usually, pinned down by lightning, or just caught out well away from camp in the dark.  And in some of those situations, blindly going forward would have created serious risk of a major if not lethal fall.  But I was never alone, we always had sufficient gear to suffer an unpleasant night out if necessary, and we took the time to stop, make smart decisions, and collectively move forward.  I did get my wife hysterically crying once - we weren't married then, so she deserves credit for forgiving my lousy sense of direction that got us lost.  I'm happy to say that I haven't lost any hiking partners, nor have any of us suffered anything more than some stress, cuts that could be patched up, and some very cold digits. 

I doubt I will ever find myself in a situation quite like the one in that movie, though.  I'll hike, canoe, or snowshoe alone, but only when I'm very confident I will be in and out in daylight, and I won't test the weather when I'm alone; would rather turn around.  I always do overnight trips of any length with friends or groups.  Aside from those times I mentioned above, this is why.

-a judge I worked for early in my career died after an apparent fall on the Pacific Crest trail, happened well after we worked together.  He was a very experienced hiker, had through-hiked the Appalachian Trail solo.  He was alone.  

-my brother suffered a gruesome injury while trekking in Nepal.  he would have died if he had been alone.  that Sherpas were able to carry him to a place where he could be airlifted out saved his life and his leg. 

So, I would like to think that I would make intelligent decisions and do everything in my power to survive.  

12:03 a.m. on February 24, 2014 (EST)
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[quote]

The plot isn't exactly farfetched, based on two recent events - first, the fellow who was lost at sea that Gary referred to, and second, a Maersk vessel recently dropped over 500 of its containers into the water during a storm in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France and Spain.  I'm led to believe that reefer containers, refrigerated cargo, can float for days or weeks. [/quote]

There are thousands of containers washed overboard annually, and some of them float for a long time- no argument there.

However, a 'collision' in a flat calm with mirror seas (not even swell) wouldn't punch a hole in a Cal39 sailboat. More likely, you'd hear a thump and a squeak as the boat slid along the container. And, 'snagging' your boat on a container corner would be a good trick. Sailboats have been holed after collisions with debris and whales, and been run down by freighters. Lots of 'real life' stories out there to be told....

And, offshore sailor with no autopilot, no windvane, and the helm not locked/tied off - wouldn't happen very often. And, dropping the main wouldn't be #1 on anybody's list. No engine? No bilge pumps? Heeling the boat so the hole was on the low side of the boat? What was that thing with the sea anchor? There's no point 'navigating' with a sextant once you are adrift in a raft since you can't control where you are going anyway etc etc.

And, 8 days in an 8 man raft with the survival food/water that's packed in it wouldn't set much of a record for a solo sailor.

But, a ripping tale.....didn't mean to spoil anybody's fun.

And, it does bring up the 'what would I do' thoughts ...something every capable skipper rehearses mentally before leaving shore. And, something we all need to do when we decide that 'going light' on a hike means that we can leave 'stuff we never use' at home, IMO.

12:28 p.m. on February 24, 2014 (EST)
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my sailing experience is confined to Laser 2 and similar - i lack the background to question the sailing-specific stuff.  I don't doubt it, though.  I have done many trials, and courtroom movies generally have very little to do with what happens in a real trial.  nor would many people want to watch a movie that accurately portrays most trials. 

1:26 p.m. on February 24, 2014 (EST)
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A well made yarn, certainly. As a sailor, I agree with John, and had trouble with the nuts and bolts of the film from the start. I saw the film in the theater and it made me squirm, the errors he was making. It crossed my mind several times, that this guy wanted to die, because he was doing things wrong. There was no urgency for making a decent patch for the hole, which should have been his first priority. And putting the hole on the lee side, so more water poured in? Having a sextant but not knowing how to use it? Who in their right mind, takes the companionway boards out when in a storm? They should be left in and dogged down, so if a wave poops the cockpit, it won't fill the boat. And he should have deployed a drogue before the storm hit, not crawled forward to put up the storm jib. A good read is Joshua Slocum's book. He knew what to do.

1:57 p.m. on February 24, 2014 (EST)
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Erich,

So the what you called companionway boards are actually pretty water tight? Cause when the boat flipped in the storm I was surprised the cabin didn't fill with water through them. 

I almost could not watch the movie as it was so intense everything he had to deal with. I know I could not live in such a small compartment even though bigger than any tent I have had. And be at sea like that for days,weeks or months.

Redford's character seemed like he was somewhat a sailor but also seemed like he didn't have the knowledge to be so far from land!

2:40 p.m. on February 24, 2014 (EST)
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Gary, companionway boards aren't totally water tight, but they do keep most water out. They can slide out if the boat capsizes. However, racing rules require, and off shore sailors typically install some sort of mechanism to keep them in their slides. As well, the hatch should have both an interior and exterior mechanism to keep it closed in the event of a capsize or knockdown. While some boats aren't very good at self righting(J-24), a Cal like the one in the film, should have righted itself quickly.

As I recall from the movie, he attached his leash or tether to the lifelines (the fence like thing around the boat's perimeter) of the boat. Usually, one uses a short leash and rope or tape jacklines run from the cockpit to the bow so you can work on deck and not get tossed overboard. When he got tossed overboard, it shows he didn't rig it correctly. Getting back on board is not easy, especially if one is getting pulled through the water. His harness and life raft were not easily accessible. Liferaft should have been deck mounted, or at least near the main hatch.

And at the beginning, not dealing with the hole IMMEDIATELY was an issue. And, this is something all TS users can relate to, he would have known that his boat hit something and woken up the moment it happened.

3:02 p.m. on February 24, 2014 (EST)
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Erich said:

 There was no urgency for making a decent patch for the hole, which should have been his first priority............... Who in their right mind, takes the companionway boards out when in a storm? ...... A good read is Joshua Slocum's book. He knew what to do.

 1)Patching the hole

Most offshore sailors (well, the competent ones...) have a 'collision plan' worked out in advance, and virtually all cruising boats have a decent toolbox aboard. Boats often have some pieces of plywood, props, mastic, canvas, nails, screws, etc. put aside for such eventualities. And, there are usually things aboard that can be pressed into service - interior locker lids are often plywood, for example.

A competent crew would have put a quick patch on the inside of the hole (cushion+cutting board+ prop (boathook?), then gotten to work screwing a patch on the outside, before the weather changed.

2) +1 on the insane removal of companionway 'washboards'. Well-founded boats always have latches or rope rigging to keep those boards in place. On my boat the boards were latched in place when offshore (you can exit/enter by just climbing over the boards in most boats), since even on a 'nice day' an errant wave can splash into the cockpit. I was on a boat where the skipper didn't follow this practice and a little 'chuckle' of a wave on a sunny 10-knot day splashed down the companionway and into the keyboard of the ship's email & radio controlling laptop.

3)+1 on Slocum. Another excellent read is the Smeeton's account of repairing their yacht (with John Guzzwell helping) after being pitchpoled near C.Horn. Beryl was washed overboard, climbed back into the cockpit, yelling:" I'll get the buckets"...They bailed out the boat, and dismantled the interior to get lumber to patch the topsides of the yacht, since the entire cabin top had been displaced when the yacht was slammed back into the water. They then sailed the boat to Chile in stormy conditions, where repairs in a boatyard took months. Guzzwell travelled back to Australia and continued his circumnavigation in Trekka (20' LOA), which he'd built in Victoria. That's what the Redford character should have read! ;-)

BTW, I asked a friend who is quite active in the offshore sailing community in my area (BC) about the film. Response:"The reaction to the film by the sailing community here has been so negative that I haven't bothered to see 'All Is Lost'."

Hollywood: Author/director with virtually no knowledge writes script and gets financing for multi-million $$ film, hires no competent advisors ? or, ignores criticism by advisors? You gotta wonder...though I guess it's making $$?

EDIT:+1 on the further comments by Erich..

6:33 p.m. on February 24, 2014 (EST)
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John said, "virtually all cruising boats have a decent toolbox aboard."

I would add that many race boats have the same sort of thing, as well as the knowledge to fix it. The companionway boards on my Aphrodite 101 had thumb screws to secure them, and PHRF rules require that, as well as jack lines, for over night or longer races. And in All is Lost, he managed to cut away the rigging with a KNIFE when he lost his mast. I carried a large two handed wire cutter as losing a mast is not unknown, even when racing inshore. Having raced Swiftsure multiple times, the Royal Vic is very specific about safety equipment and All is Lost didn't have half of that.

I would add that his patch was bogus, given that there was no structure to put the cloth over. Screw a section of the sole over the hole from the inside, first.

And where was his electric bilge pump? Or his bilge alarm, a $10 piece of gear. And why did he not have a decent handle for his manual pump?

The bottom line is that the character had no sense of urgency when his boat was holed, and even put the hole on the lee side, putting more water in.

As a connection that TS readers might enjoy, are Bill Tilman's Eight Sailing/ Mountain Exploration Books. a follow up to his Seven Mountain Travel Books. Tilman sailed a succession of Pilot Cutters to Patagonia and Antarctica to find more mountains to climb. He was lost at sea in 1977.

I'll note the importance of having redundant and manual systems on board any vessel. Electronics are fine, but as John noted, one sea water splash and they can fail. This is why most experienced off shore sailors carry and know how to use a sextant, even if the have multiple GPS systems for navigation. As well, when the Bounty replica foundered last year, she did so because she had lost power and her electric bilge pumps wouldn't work. If she had been a more complete replica, she would doubtless have had a full on manual system like the original, and that may have saved her and the live of her skipper and another crew member.

10:06 a.m. on February 25, 2014 (EST)
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I noted that Redford's character didn't ever have a life jacket on. And when he had tethered the raft he let it drift the length of the rope away from the boat. Had the boat sank and dragged the raft with it he would have really been screwed.

The director must have had very little knowledge of sailing and must have done very little fact finding information before throwing the picture together. I would have thought Redford would have been a bit more knowledgeable about such endeavor's?  But having to follow the directors lead he may have not been able to make needed changes.

12:47 p.m. on February 25, 2014 (EST)
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Hmmm... the thread has drifted quite a way from what I was hoping for - a discussion of how to deal with a cascade of failures. The film itself is, after, "just a story". As with virtually all films (and books), the film-makers took a fair amount of "dramatic license". Virtually all climbing movies do the same. Moby Dick is a sea tale in which Melville took a lot of "literary license."Possibly the worst is Vertical Limit. I have several friends who worked as stunt men on that film, and the wife of one of the very active contributors to rec.climbing.useful did the rotoscoping (rcu was one of the two forums from Views From The Top that the MacLeays bought from VFTT to form the basis of Trailspace, the other being rec.backcountry.useful, the predecessor of this forum with the title still appearing at the top of the forum page). In Vertical Limit, there is a scene where the "hero" makes an impossibly huge leap across a chasm and sticks his ice tools and crampons perfectly. If you look closely, you will see that his trajectory is that of someone swinging on a rope (curving upward) instead of what basic physics dictates, a downward parabola. One of my friends who was a stuntman cringes when you remind him that he actually appears in one scene in the film. In the opening, there is a rope-cutting to save the lives of the "hero" and his sister. Yeah, Simon and Yates did a real rope-cutting on their climb of Siula Grande, as re-enacted in Touching the Void. Along with Vertical Limit, Cliffhanger ranks up there with the great mountaineering comedies (turns out that Stallone is very much afraid of heights). Eiger Sanction is marginally better (at least Clint does some of his own climbing).

Castaway and Life of Pi are other films in which "Our Man" is in a desparate situation in the middle of the ocean. But at least Hanks has "Wilson" and Pi has his Tiger for companions. You can also point to a lot of unreal things in both those films. Was Pi hallucinating the whole thing, or did he just invent the whole story?

A basic truth is that real catastrophes are rarely the result of a single catastrophic event. Virtually always, they are the result of a chain of small blunders, errors, and omissions. Preparation and awareness can break the chain and avoid the big catastrophe.

My intention with the original post was to prompt a discussion of how, in general (not just this specific scenario), can we become more aware of how things are going downhill. It wasn't a question of sailing per se. The "sailing" is just the "journey". Who is "Our Man"? What is his background? Why is he out there on this solo journey? Why would anyone head out across the ocean solo (especially the part of the ocean he was in)?

I note that no one has yet commented on my suggestion that there are at least 3 possible interpretations of the ending (Gary did send me a PM with a comment on one interpretation). 

1:36 p.m. on February 25, 2014 (EST)
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Bill S said:

Hmmm... the thread has drifted quite a way from what I was hoping for - a discussion of how to deal with a cascade of failures. The film itself is, after, "just a story". ...................

A basic truth is that real catastrophes are rarely the result of a single catastrophic event. Virtually always, they are the result of a chain of small blunders, errors, and omissions. Preparation and awareness can break the chain and avoid the big catastrophe.

My intention with the original post was to prompt a discussion of how, in general (not just this specific scenario), can we become more aware of how things are going downhill. It wasn't a question of sailing per se. The "sailing" is just the "journey". Who is "Our Man"? What is his background? Why is he out there on this solo journey? Why would anyone head out across the ocean solo (especially the part of the ocean he was in)?

I note that no one has yet commented on my suggestion that there are at least 3 possible interpretations of the ending (Gary did send me a PM with a comment on one interpretation). 

 

I'm not very clear on exactly what you mean. My apologies if I pulled the discussion off-topic.

Yes, it is 'just a story' - a very very unrealistic stupid tale of something that would likely never ever happen in that way - which is very convincing to people who know nothing about the subject, apparently, judging from the public reaction and $$$$(that's what it's all about) it's earning. It's the very worst of what Hollywood is all about, IMO. Not only is the story completely ridiculous, but the writing is terrible to boot. MobyDick indeed!!

BTW, the actual 'story' in Moby Dick is not so far-fetched- read 'In the Heart of the Sea' by Philbrick about the whaleship Essex for the 'real thing'.

OK, to your points:

Yeah, the ending has different possibilities from ascension to heaven in the hand of a hot angel, to real-life rescue. Maudlin, just like the start of the film.

The 'story' is not about a chain of small blunders - it's a complete mess from the start - a person who has no right to be in that place because he is so astoundingly ignorant and disrespectful of the environment he is in and the traditions he aspires to be part of. Think 350 lb wheezing and arthritic man flying into K2 base camp dressed in flip-flops and shorts, thinking he is going to climb K2 :'Which way is it to the top?"

..or  Maurice Wilson's 'attempt' on Everest.

The most irritating aspect of the film for me is the fact that it can prompt people who have extensive outdoors experience to ask questions like:

"Why would anyone head out across the ocean solo (especially the part of the ocean he was in)?"

The answer in part: "Our 'hero' in 'All Is Lost' is a mentally ill incompetent who has no business being out there. He's completely unprepared and unskilled, and his stupid reactions to a manageable mishap cause the loss of his boat and his life.

In his little soliloquy at the film beginning, he doesn't say; "I should have learned more" "I wasn't ready for this" "I made *****-up decisions from start to finish". Instead: "I tried my best, I'm sorry"

Trips in the area depicted in the film are not unusual - they happen all the time. There's nothing particularly heroic about them, though they are certainly a big challenge. BTW, that part of the ocean (Indian Ocean) isn't very noted for its hazards. The most dangerous part of a westward passage in that area is the piracy at the Red Sea approaches and along the African coast nowadays, so folks tend to avoid that area more than 20+ years ago. (see Cornell's 'Cruising Routes' for details).

I see 'All is Lost' in the context of the modern culture of self-esteem and self-entitlement - the: 'Anybody can be an astronaut' 'You can succeed at anything if you want it enough' culture.

On a more mundane level, it translates into:
 "I'm not fit enough to carry more than a 15 lb pack, and I've never done any hiking, but I've decided to hike the AT end-to-end, non-stop. Please help me with my plans."

Welcome to 2014!

3:30 p.m. on February 25, 2014 (EST)
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Sorry you so completely missed the point, and that I wasted your time.

But thank you for sharing your superior expert knowledge of sailing

One of the moderators needs to close this thread and move it to Off Topic.

10:16 p.m. on February 25, 2014 (EST)
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setting aside knowledge of sailing on the open ocean and this movie, I think your questions do raise important issues about how one might deal with a situation that threatens to go bad, perhaps in a hurry.

I say this because I don't sail on the open ocean, so I can't relate to that, and because I have not seen the movie.  I have three kids who do sports all the time, so movies are a luxury I rarely get to enjoy unless they are on cable TV.

I long ago concluded that the #1 "item" on the list of ten essentials, the one that you absolutely cannot leave behind and must rely on in any circumstance, is your wealth of knowledge and good judgment.  That is not necessarily easy, because good judgment tends to  be tested most severely when you are outside your comfort zone or worse, just plain afraid of what might happen.   

Perhaps this is something I could accomplish alone, but I have consistently chosen not to do that.  For a long time, since I was 21 or so anyway, I go out in extreme conditions with a group, people I know well.  People who share my outlook about life and family at the most basic level.  Consequently, when we have to make decisions, we share common ground, we can trust each others' judgment. and we always, without exception, place more value on our own well-being than we do on the goal or the climb in front of us. 

I'm sorry this turned into a dialogue or a diatribe about whether a movie about sailing is sufficiently realistic.  I agree, it misses the point.   

 

12:54 a.m. on February 26, 2014 (EST)
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I think, that in the end, every film can be flawed if viewed from a purely scientific standpoint. The Odyssey didn't happen as it was told, it was only a parable. In the larger frame, Bill's comment that it was a cascade of events that created the issues "our man" was faced with. Arthur Moffat died in the Arctic due to a series of miscalculations. I related my own experience on the Rogue River, elsewhere on TS.

The bottom line with any story, should be, "can everyone suspend their disbelief  to see the story for what it is?". As a retired cinematographer, I think I have some experience here. The rule I always used, was, did the acting seem real, or acting? Was my work transparent? Did viewers identify with the characters and the story? And most importantly, was there knowledge gained, perhaps a new perspective, from watching this film?

The difficulty with any film, comes when there is a portrayal of real events or real situations that are not realistic.

In House of Cards recently, a character found an old typewriter and punched out a typo free letter. Anyone who has experience with these now steam punk favored devices, would ask," how was the ribbon still good", "why did none of the keys stick", and a "why no typos"? 

6:18 a.m. on February 26, 2014 (EST)
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Bill S says: One of the moderators needs to close this thread and move it to Off Topic.

Aw, come on Bill it is just getting interesting here> Survival in any situation can always bring up new idea's and stories, but we seem to like the subject on sailing half blind.

2:04 p.m. on February 26, 2014 (EST)
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Erich said:

 In the larger frame, Bill's comment that it was a cascade of events that created the issues "our man" was faced with. Arthur Moffat died in the Arctic due to a series of miscalculations. I related my own experience on the Rogue River, elsewhere on TS.

 The classical proverb on cascading events is "For Want of a Nail":

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The earliest reference for this is generally considered 1230AD. A variation appears in Shakespeare's Richard III.

Erich further said:

In House of Cards recently, a character found an old typewriter and punched out a typo free letter. Anyone who has experience with these now steam punk favored devices, would ask," how was the ribbon still good", "why did none of the keys stick", and a "why no typos"?

I still have an ancient Underwood portable typewriter that I learned to touch-type on while in grade school. It hadn't been used in years (at least since before 1990). Your post inspired me to get it out and type a few lines. Yes, the ribbon is still good, though not really all that dark. The keys don't stick unless I try to type too fast (none of them stuck in typing the below image). Typos - well, I get those on the computer, too, sometimes despite the auto-spelling correction. So at least some "unbelievable" things do take place, despite the skepticism of "modern" folks. No electronics, or even electricity were involved in the typing of the page below. And it was not typed aboard a sailboat of any kind.


Typewriter1.jpg

9:34 a.m. on February 27, 2014 (EST)
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;p

10:10 a.m. on February 27, 2014 (EST)
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I often think myself silly for packing so much in my pack when I hike in such well populated areas. But I also observe that hikers do get lost in the crowded Mt Charleston and Red Rocks areas...they fall or get hurt and are not visible to others. So the first in the cascade of errors that can befall me as an experienced yet not overly skilled outdoors person is that if I assume it is easy, I have left myself in a deficit from the git go. My father always said hope for the best but plan for the worst. Those 9 words say it all. So I have to ask myself what the worst is and hope that I have planned for that. But there is the "I don't know what I don't know" factor too. I think the best thing is to listen, read, and try things out. Test my safety gear when I don't need it so I will know how it works when I do. I own books and read them. I come here and have people I trust .... topping that list is BillS ..... who have provided me information that, had I not been provided with, bad things could have happened.

Even with all of the planning, bad things can go terribly bad and if I were in so isolated an area I am not sure what I would do. I think I would have to fight fear and the ultimate fear that I would give up. I would love to think I wouldn't give up but we never know about those who have simply given up. I have seen many episodes of "I SHOULDN"T BE ALIVE" where the people say they thought they were going to die, but not one that said they were just willing to quit. Not one that was in their right mind...one guy did realize he was not very coherent any longer and simply tried to make himself visible. But I don't think that was giving up. So maybe if you do give up, you do die.

11:04 a.m. on February 27, 2014 (EST)
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Bill, you have good karma with regard to typewriters. My Royal's ribbon is mostly dry.

11:30 a.m. on February 27, 2014 (EST)
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Erich said:

Bill, you have good karma with regard to typewriters. My Royal's ribbon is mostly dry.

 I wish I still had an old TW. My sister was the fastest typer in the lower 48...at least I think she was. I couldn't type my name in a timed event.

5:28 p.m. on February 28, 2014 (EST)
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sorry for diverting......

When i was growing up, we had a metal, full-manual typewriter at home.  one of my gifts in high school was a smith-corona electric, the ribbon and correction ribbon in a single plug-in cartridge. 

I was forced in graduate school to type all my exams due to atrocious handwriting.  i still have the brother typewriter.  it isn't manual - plugs in, no memory, but it can backspace/correct entire words.  i still occasionally use it for filling out forms. 

my first computer, a mac plus, had no internal storage.  the entire operating system and software was on one floppy disk.  my first external hard drive for that computer was about the size of a hardback book and stored 10 megabytes of data.

i now carry a tiny flash drive that holds 64 gigabytes of data, plus a 2 terabyte hard drive the size of a passport. 

10:00 p.m. on May 11, 2014 (EDT)
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There was an account by a Steven Callahan, Adrift, which describes a very similar incident to the movie. But the survivor had to spend 76 days in a rubber raft drifting across the Atlantic using some pretty innovative techniques to stay alive. To say that the movie plagiarized an actual account then crashed and burned is completely justified. As for the potentiality of trying to survive in a situation such as this, you have your gear, training, and hopefully your health as it starts. Prep is all well and good but unless a person has been in a similar situation, providing theory for ourselves is what ends up occurring. For those who have faced the solitude and triumphed over themselves, as well as a bit of luck can shed light on this. Those like myself who have not faced this can only wonder. 

12:06 p.m. on May 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Mad, for centuries, there have been similar accounts of survival. William Bligh of Bounty fame, traveled in an open boat, with the bulk of Bounty's crew, from Tahiti to Dutch East Timor, a voyage of 3600 miles only stopping on land once and only losing one man(to attack on that one occasion). His account certainly shows his knowledge, though he had not done this before. I also recall a whaling ship that foundered in the southern Ocean and wrecked on an island. The crew had little left of their ship but managed to cob together an early cement boat using limestone they found on the island. And, then there is Joshua Slocum and the scores of others that have followed him. The character in "All is Lost" had centuries to read and learn. I would argue that his lack of preparation in so many things could have saved him so many times. He lacked basic common sense and would not have gotten into his situation if he had it. What offshore sailor stows their life raft BELOW? Who uses a tether but no jack lines that allow him to actually fall overboard? These are basic things that would not require prior experience.

Read Slocum and Bligh and then you get a sense of what survival really means. Neither of them thought too much about it. Slocum did it because he was out of work. Bligh had lost his ship to mutineers.

 

December 22, 2014
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