Friday, January 29, 2016
Escape by sailboat
There are a zillion boats in Florida. Some of the waterways are down right crowded. Certain choke points, like the Miserable Mile, force a lot of boats into narrow channels. Can someone really escape a disaster in a sailboat?
Like everything else, it depends. If there's a local disturbance like a riot, chemical spill, or fire, it's easy enough to slip away. If you are out on a mooring ball or at anchor, you are somewhat isolated from the problems on shore. Even if you were in a marina you'd probably have a better chance than most people. Security at marinas varies from pretty good to nonexistent, but it's not the first place rioters seem to go to. There are better places to start looting. Most boats can be untied from the docks quickly.
How about a more widespread disaster? In a Mad Max world, sailboats appear to have a serious disadvantage: they are slow. My sailboat can do a bit over 6 knots. Just about any power boat can go faster?
In an EMP type situation that disables electronics, being able to raise sail and harness the winds puts a sailboat ahead of most power boats. Only military boats with hardened electronics or extremely old simple motors would stand a chance of working. The majority of power boats would be dead in the water.
Where a sailboat really shines is range. The further off shore one sails, the fewer the power boats that have the ability to follow. If you leave early and give everyone the slip, before long you are past of the fuel capacity of most boats.
Sailboats during the best of times are hard to pick up on radar. Many sailboats carry radar reflectors that are hoisted up in the rigging to make their boat more visible. I've heard of of people stealing a sailboat and it taking days for the Coast Guard and Navy to find them. There's a lot of open space out there. If someone takes measures not to be found, they can stand a good chance of disappearing.
Where to go? Even my little boat has enough supplies to last a few weeks. My big limitation is fresh water, but I can collect rain water. Maybe it's just a matter of sailing up or down the coast to a place that's safer. Perhaps going to an offshore island might be the thing, but I'm sure a lot of other boaters will be thinking the same thing. It might even make sense to just go offshore and wait it out.
While a sailboat isn't perfect, it's a pretty good bug out vehicle. Many people think a big 4X4 truck is the ideal bug out vehicle, but I'd rather be in a sailboat. I can carry a good load, it's not limited to the roads, and it can harness the wind for power. Mainly though, I'm usually on the boat or very close to it. The best bug out vehicle is the one you are already living on.