We have had a bit of an issue here. Our crew member has gone stir crazy with cabin fever. After four days of being cooped up in the boat, he decided that we needed to move and go somewhere new. I told him that it was not safe and we were not moving, so he became recalcitrant.
"I'm getting in that dinghy and going to shore, like it or not. I am not gong to stay on this boat one more day!"
He got in the dinghy and battled 30 knot winds. The 5 mile journey to land took him 3.5 hours! Since he was going to shore, we gave him money to buy us SIM cards for the Bahamas so that we can use our phones while we are here and to give his journey a purpose.
He left the boat at noon, made it to shore at 3:30pm, bought the SIM cards before 4pm.
He took with him a radio and was contacting us the whole way there, even when me made landfall. When he bought the cards, he radioed us back on the boat. Then the radio contact ceased.
At around 11pm, one of his friends contacts us via our sat phone to inform us that "He is going to stay the night on a catamaran at shore and will return in the morning at first light."
He has a bit of a drinking and "party" problem. He can go a period of time with no drinking, but the moment he hits land, he will find the party and indulge himself in every mind altering form possible.
It should be no wonder that he fell off the radar as soon as he made it to land. The problem with this whole situation is the following:
I gave him a direct order to not go to shore because it was not safe to take a 7 foot hard dinghy to shore across 5 miles of rough seas. Our 45 foot sailboat is bobbing and rolling in the anchorage as the winds tore down on us, and the seas were so big that he had trouble getting into the dinghy as it was thrashing around so violently.
Going to shore was in direct violation of the order I gave him, and shows that he has no regard for authority or personal safety.
Not coming back from shore that afternoon shows that he doesn't care about returning our dinghy. Should something happen on the boat and we need the dinghy to rectify it, we don't have it because he is busy getting drunk and high on shore!
My big concern with this situation is when out in the ocean and a gale comes up on us, we will heave to. Should we have encountered these winds which have kept us anchored for so many days at sea, we would have spent the same amount of time hove to.
Will he one day insist that we start sailing again? Will he respect my authority over the boat when I say we are staying hove to?