I want to thank you for digging deeply enough to really get at least most of the story.
I am a long time repeat Windjammer, and have known for a year they are hurting. But (I suppose I wanted to believe/decieve myself) I have listened to them blame bad luck, weather, poor management.
It nearly made me cry to realize the single biggest reason is con-artistry on a massive scale.
My wife and I have sailed a combined 136 weeks on Windjammer. We started in the 80s. We have Sail-5. I estimate we've spent and invested $110,000 (not including airfare). That was our choice. I'll live with their bitter disappopintments, and try and treat it as a life lesson.
But I will never, EVER forgive them losing the Fantome. We had sailed over 40 weeks (combined) on her. We knew many of the men lost. We believed their line "NOOA blew forcast and we listened to NOOA", hook, line, and sinker. To read that they KNEW the ship should have fled North of Mexico Yucatan and couldn't because of unpaid bills, even while the Burkes were playing grab-arse in their multi-million dollar mansions...
Those were GOOD men, they deserved better.
Thanks Paul, keep up the muck raking, even if the truth hurts us loyal Windjammers.