All is Lost

Recent visits to the cinema all seem be to see movies with which I find some kind of resonance. The latest was “All is Lost”, easily Robert Redford’s finest movie. It’s just him all the way through with virtually no dialogue, a powerful and intense performance. The plot centres round his lone fight for survival after his sailing yacht hits a shipping container in the middle of the Indian Ocean. As he’s beset by each new catastrophe, you feel his pain and despair. He looks totally done in by the ordeal.

My first excursion out in Spirit of Cardiff in 1999 came to an abrupt end when we too collided with a shipping container 10 miles off Lizard Point. Unlike Redford’s, spewing trainers into the sea, ours was invisible, floating probably about a foot below the surface. Crashing into something you can’t see is quite an alarming experience. We hit it doing nearly 20 knots, and the impact was hard enough to rip the outdrive from its mountings, disabling the boat.

Had Spirit not been a RIB, there is a possibility she would have sunk. As it was, we had to be towed ashore by RNLI lifeboat – for me, the rookie powerboater, what you might call a baptism of fire. Click on the link for “Confronting Poseidon” to read about it, and the rest of Spirit of Cardiff’s remarkable story.

Moral of both tales? The sea has an awful lot of distinctly unfriendly stuff in it, mostly man-made…

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