Sir Cloudsley's primary problem was that he was an Ass. In mitigation, his fleet had been out of sight of land, in a storm, in the days when "longitude" was more of a concept, than a given. Had they lost sight of land in fog, I THINK they might just have known what way home was
Originally Posted by Pikey Dave
We hit f**cking rocks or each other and sank, that's what we did. That (and the U boats) would account for the 250 000 odd charted wrecks (all skippered by "proper seamen") around our coastline....
You have oversimplified P-D (for effect, I'm sure
) but I think it wouldn't be fair to mention the other reasons too:
Drunkeness (a very common problem)
Structural or Mechanical Failure - covers a multitude of things.
The above list accounted for a very large proportion of losses in the Pre-electronic days. Come to think of it, the same could be said IN the electronic era too. They're still sinking for those reasons.
I can see both sides of this argument, but I have to say that while steering to compass in fog IS tricky, it is a skill quickly picked up and it does work. It's a skill worth developing, something that training AND practice will do. Obviously the safety issue is important and it does depend where the fog is! If it's between Ireland and the UK, then the risks are reduced, if you're in Milford Haven - then it's tricky!
I've often been in fog, BTW, but I've never suddenly found myself in it. It's not THAT sneaky!