The tragic story of Nelson man Charlie Gallagher, who drowned after falling from his yacht in the Marlborough Sounds, was one I'm sure all sailors dreaded reading.
Falling overboard is something that constantly lurks in my subconscious and, in all honesty, is far more frightening than an injury or illness at sea.
Those things can hopefully be dealt with using the satellite phone and the extensive medical kit we carry, items that would be next to useless if one of us was to go over the side.
Yes we've read endless articles, done the man-overboard drills and have an emergency ladder on board but in stark reality I know that if David fell overboard there's only a slight chance I could get him back on board.
The power to weight ratio just doesn't work when I barely tip 50kg on the scales.
Using harnesses, ropes and winches works fine in flat seas provided the person in the water can help.
Throw into the equation some waves, wind, an injury, waterlogged clothing and a dash of good old-fashioned panic and the theory goes out the window.
Charlie's crew Jo Ivory did amazingly well to get the sails down, turn the boat around and secure a line to him - a huge effort in itself - but there are few more experienced sailors around than Jo.
In a lifetime of coastal and offshore sailing and racing she has had her share of adventures and will be devastated this one ended in tragedy.
In the wake of such an incident come people who tut tut and criticise, perhaps without understanding the circumstances and difficulties involved.
"He wasn't wearing a lifejacket or harness" and "He'd been drinking" were just two of the comments I saw.
Anyone who has spent any length of time at sea knows that wearing a lifejacket and harness on a racing or cruising yacht is simply not feasible all the time.
Without a doubt lifejackets should be worn on small craft as, like seatbelts, they can and do save lives, but on a bigger yacht the answer is not quite so simple.
I have to put my hand up and say we do not wear lifejackets all the time.
Ours are modern and slimline but they can still be unwieldy, especially when winding winches.
Being harnessed can sometimes be more of a hindrance on deck, especially if you are doing something physical and moving around, which you generally are on a yacht.
There are times when things need to be done quickly - freeing a jammed line for example - and there is no time to don a lifejacket and harness let alone clip and unclip as you move along the deck.
We always wear lifejackets and harnesses when we are on sole watch or in adverse conditions.
Having said that, there have been a few occasions when the wind and seas have got up and we haven't had time to go below to get lifejackets.
Likewise, on occasions when we've hooked a fish David has run to the back of the boat to haul it in without one.
As for drinking, no-one thinks twice of having a few beers after rugby or a glass of wine at a restaurant and driving home - yet being on a boat we are all meant to abstain?
We don't drink on-passage but that is a personal decision - we certainly would never criticise other sailors for having a sundowner or two.
There are lots of things that can go wrong at sea but dwelling on them would stop anyone leaving the marina.
Similarly, if you analysed the road toll too much, you'd probably never leave the house.
When we embarked upon this cruising life we were aware there were risks and while we do our best to minimise those, we accept there is always a chance of something going wrong.
Hearing stories like Charlie Gallagher's death and the tragedy of the missing schooner Nina, presumed sunk with the loss of all lives, are sobering for sailors.
But at the end of the day there are risks in everything we do and I am probably in far more danger crossing London's frantic streets than I am at sea.
Webb Log is the adventures of Picton yacht Bandit and its crew Brenda Webb and David Morgan as they sail their way home from the Mediterranean.
Their online Bandit blog is at yachtbandit.blogspot.com.
- The Marlborough Express