Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

More detail on high drama aboard S/V Scott Free trickling in – earlier this week I wrote about their predicament and now the New Zealand Herald has a more complete account. The boat was knocked flat by a rogue wave and the one of the crew (the husband) was smacked in the head, opening a huge gash (running from his forehead to the back of his skull) that bled profusely. To her credit his wife stitched him up field-style, 23 sutures total, and they were rescued by a merchant ship shortly thereafter. This tale of woe has been told in varying forms since man and woman first went to sea but worth noting is the importance of medical equipment and training. Though the wife, Lisa Blackwood, had no formal medical training she still did what was needed with the proper supplies at hand…voyaging is an inherently dangerous activity and requires a frontier-like self sufficiency that is utterly foreign to most people in this country (and other first world countries) who're used to having “911” at their disposal. If I were to characterize some of the traits that are common to culture, “self-sufficiency” would be at the top of the list – as true for the hardcore offshore voyager as the weekend warrior, kid in a Laser, the grinder on a maxi, the bowman on a Wednesday night beer can. Not all of us may be called on to stitch up a forehead but I wager most of us feel like if we had to, we could.

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