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February 13, 2015

Cruise Ship Skipper Gets 16 Years

For days after the massive cruise ship grounded on the Giglio shoreline, divers and other rescue personnel worked exhaustively to find survivors and retrieve bodies from the Costa Concordia.

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The 18-month trial of Captain Francesco Schettino finally ended this week, with the flamboyant Italian mariner being convicted of manslaughter and other charges related to the deaths of the 32 passengers who perished when the 952-ft cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground on the Italian coast in January 2012. The controversial captain was given a 16-year sentence. 

Although the ship would normally have stayed five miles offshore, Schettino admitted that he drove the vessel in close to the Tuscan island of Giglio to impress his passengers — and perhaps also his girlfriend, who was on the bridge with him. The ship was holed by a rock that Schettino claims is uncharted, then ran onto a rocky ledge.

Prosecutors reportedly characterized Schettino as a fool and a coward for abandoning his ship while many passengers were still aboard, struggling to find a way to get ashore safely.

It only takes one mistake to end a maritime career. Captain Francesco Schettino’s blunder was colossal, of course, and it will undoubtedly haunt him for the rest of his life.

© 2015 Action Press / REX Features

Although commercial maritime laws don’t necessarily apply to recreational boaters, this sad incident does serve as food for thought for all of us. As we’ve seen in a variety of tragedies during races and offshore adventures, boat owners or the ‘person in charge’ are generally responsible for the safety and well-being of their crews. And in many countries captains are responsible for the behavior and ‘repatriation’ of the sailors on their crew manifest. 

We’d like your thoughts on this subject. What measures do you take to insure the safety — and safe behavior — of your passengers and crew when daysailing, racing or cruising? And do you ask them to sign a liability release before leaving the dock? Email us here.

That Was “Boring”?

Elizabeth Ostrander. Not only does she have two long doublehanded ocean passages to her credit, we think she’s a very attractive woman. So does Doña de Mallorca. What about you?

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We received the following response to Monday’s ‘Lectronic about Elizabeth Ostrander — who has cruised from California to Hawaii, and Hawaii to French Polynesia, and who intends to sail around the world with her husband Erik on their Freeport 41 Journey — being in the running for the 2015 Playboy Playmate of the Year:

"That [‘Lectronic item] was terrible. It pushed the needle right off the end of the boring and unsuitable meter."

Terrible? One can only wonder what the reader thinks about Target selling 50 Shades of Grey BDSM ‘kits’ to curious mommies to coincide with the release of the movie of the same name.

But "boring"!? Even if we were 85 years old, if we were "bored" by the photos of Elizabeth, we’d visit our physician to see if we had a medical problem. What about you? Email your thoughts here

Another side of Elizabeth. All right, all right, we’re being a little naughty now. 

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For what it’s worth, Doña de Mallorca walked into the room as we were writing this: "I voted for her," she said.

"What are you talking about?" We responded, as the subject of Elizabeth had never come up. "That woman Elizabeth in the Monday’s ‘Lectronic. She’s absolutely beautiful, so I took the time to vote for her as Playmate of the Year."

What about you? (Vote here.)

Classy Deadline This Weekend

If you’ve got a boat or gear to sell, don’t miss the boat. Monday is too late to place a Classy Classified. So don’t be disappointed. Book your ad online by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

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A friendly reminder to our Classy Classified advertisers that the ad deadline is always the 15th of each month. That rule holds true this month, even though the 15th falls on a Sunday. So be warned that Monday (the 16th) will be too late to place your ad to get into the March issue.

As always, Classy Classifieds can be submitted online here in a matter of minutes.

Is this a cool photo of eco-friendly cruising or what? Swell
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC "Whenever possible, I use this precision anchoring technique seen in the photo to place my anchor in a sand patch where my chain won’t damage any nearby coral," reports Liz Clark.
"I am a proud member of the Latitude ‘Over 30 Club’, as I have owned my Pearson 26 for 38 years," writes William Grummel of Antioch.