Never underestimate the effects of being horribly seasick... all the more so when dealing with the mast coming down.
Proa makes a great point here. Somehow the old song and parable about walking a mile in another man's shoes comes to mind.
I delivered this Givens 56 catamaran from the VI to Newport a bit early in the season.
It was originally an open bridgedeck racing design with a very large and tall rotating carbon rig. She had the deckhouse added to make her into a very spirited fast cruiser to say the least. Bad weather caught up with us as we neared Bermuda and it was one of the most harrowing nights I've ever spent offshore. We found that we could steer by the autopilot sitting in the house watching the radar and sail between the worst of the squalls. All four of us on board had major offshore multihull experience but one crew was down with a medical condition and hadn't stood watch for a couple of days. We had conditions that were probably very similar to what the RM were experiencing but we didn't have the Gulfstream to contend with. Squalls were bringing 55kts but we were close reaching heavily reefed and could feather up in the gusts. The luffing and flogging that the rig took when pinching up to keep the windward hull in the water was astounding. Add to that the rotating wing and now spreaders and I was definitely worried about shaking the rig out of the boat. There was no 'panic button' for the mainsheet and we were really very amiss in having the main cleated off on a winch in the cockpit. We would have never had time to throw off the sheet if we had skyed the hull. Hard to get any rest off watch and I'm sure that if we had lost the rig we would all have attempted to get on a ship or even for for a chopper ride. The biggest challenge was to keep the boat slowed down yet not get stopped by a wave like the Alpha incident and damage rudders. It was a very fine tightrope we walked that night and I thought of the other old saying that God looks after drunks and fools (and sailors?) When we got into Bermuda the next day as the barometer continued to fall, we learned of the loss of Hans Horrevoets, the crewman of ABN during the Volvo race in the same weather system that we were dodging. Watching the cruise ships snap big hawsers at the dock and the full brunt of that system moved in made me think that we would have had to lay ahull or deploy drogues had we not made safe harbor. We got another pretty good thumping crossing the Stream as we approached New England on the second leg of the trip and it was much colder. We would have liked to get the current lift of the stream but could handle the short confused seas and had to get on across as quickly as possible and fight the counter currents on either side.
On the other hand, I've skippered a Catana 58 from the Canaries to St Martin and it was the proverbial 'magic carpet' ride.