I wouldn't call not having a HF penny pinching. A modern Icom + tuner + backstay or aerial + modem = the cost of 2-3 satellite phones these days, and then if the boat loses power its not going to work. Satellite phones are portable, can be put in a waterproof case and contain their own battery.
Most long distance cruisers have a healthy respect for mother nature and won't risk bad weather to keep a schedule.
I hope this wasn't a case of a "new build" with no comms and therefore just relying on a sat phone (maybe only portable) voice hook up for weather advice and distress purposes? The "EPIRB only" distress signal, seems to indicate this may be the case.
For nearly every long distance "new boat" delivery, and many others, I have had to take my own laptop, sat phone with a data plan and HF data modem, if it had a compatible HF radio. If this boat didn't have an HF (which is just penny pinching stupididty...long distance cruisers out there take note), I would not only have not left HK last week, but probably not left until Jan/February, if at all.