How FaceTime wrecked a sailor’s dream


Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s video chat feature FaceTime has bridged the miles for families, sparked a ton of romances and probably shattered a few marriages.

This may be the first time it’s ever shipwrecked someone, though.

John Berg was sailing off the coast of Kona, Hawaii when a FaceTime login request started messing with the navigation app on his iPad. Although sailing apps on smartphones and tablets so popular they’re credited with having sunk the market for Garmin products,  imprecise navigation has been a concern.

He was almost at the finish line for the journey of a lifetime: Berg, who is blind, and crew sailed for 21 days covering 2,800 miles from Banderas Bay in Mexico to Hawaii in a 40-foot-boat dubbed the Seaquel.

An app called iNavX on Berg’s iPad guided the Seaquel’s GPS. As they headed for the night’s waypoint, the screen was taken hostage by a system request to log in to FaceTime. And then another request to log in to iCloud. Berg and crew couldn’t figure out how to dismiss the request and log back in to iNavX. Things spiraled down into an All is Lostscenario when it turned out that although Berg’s iPhone had the app installed, the waypoint wasn’t set.

The vessel, a Nordic 40, cracked open on the jagged reefs just three miles from its destination. Fortunately, neither Berg nor the crew were injured and swam to safety. The boat is a goner, though.

Berg, who had lived aboard the boat for 12 years with his daughter, only blames himself.

“I just want to make it crystal clear that it was my boat, I was the captain, and it was me who screwed up. Even though I had sighted crew with me, it was my fault we lost the boat,” he told magazine Latitude 38.

Even so, it’d be nice if  some Apple fan had an unused boat for Berg to call home now.

Via Latitude 38