In this ‘cover your ass’ world, there are few things more compelling than someone standing up and taking direct responsibility for something disastrous. Team Vestas Wind router Wouter Verbraak had just two days in Mauritius to collect himself before flying out, and using one of the only forms of communication he had – Facebook on a hotel computer – he posted his mea culpa , just an hour ago, and with no qualifications. More, he’s analyzed what happened (probably ten thousand times over the past week), and provides a solid, logical, believable explanation of what was essentially a mistake resulting from the usual cascade of small errors; a combination of fatigue, time crunch, digital charting issues, and the last-minute, storm-induced course change from VOR Race Direction. Like this attitude? Like him on Facebook and tell him. We’re sure he could use a few words of encouragement. More Brian Carlin shipwreck pics here.
We finally have means of communications again, so a message is highly overdue…
I am totally devastated and still in shock as the gravity of our grounding is slowly sinking in now that we are safely in Mauritius with finally some time to reflect on what happened.
We are very lucky that nobody was hurt, and a lot of that is credit to our teamwork in the seconds, minutes and hours after the crash.
I made a big mistake,[emph. ours] but then we didn’t make any others even though there were many difficult decision to be made and the situation was very challenging and grave indeed.
Once I can get power to the boat’s laptops (if they survived) I can look further into how we didn’t see the reef on the electronic charts [emph. ours]. I did check the area on the electronic chart before putting my head down for a rest after a very long day negotiating the tropical storm, and what I saw was depths of 42 and 80m indicated. There is a very good article posted here which highlights some of the zooming problem in the vectorised charts that we used.
I can assure you that before every leg we diligently look at our route before we leave and I use both Google Earth, paper charts and other tools. However, our planned route changed just before we left, and with the focus on the start and the tricky conditions, I erroneously thought I would have enough information with me to look at the changes in our route as we went along. I was wrong. I am not trying to make any excuses – just trying to offer up some form of explanation and answer to some of your questions.
There are a number of lessons to be learned from this, which we hope will be able to relay in the time to come.
I am immensely grateful for all the support that we as a team, my family and myself have received from our wonderful friends, colleagues, family, Vestas, Powerhouse and Volvo. More over we are heavily in debt to the thorough support of Alvimedica throughout the first night, as well as the local fisherman and the coastguard of Ile du Sud in the atoll. So I want to thank everybody so very much. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I am forever in your debt.