I would no sooner navigate a small sailing vessel in the waters around the Horn of Africa then I would rent an RV and take a trip to Tripoli, Libya. But by all accounts Quest owners Jean and Scott Adam were skilled and experienced ocean cruisers. So what happened?
My guess is they made the error of wishful thinking. No doubt the crew of the Quest badly wanted to finish their voyage and just a a mountain climber can be blinded by summit fever so can yachtsmen fail to properly evaluate risk in some cases.
Below is a standard risk assessment matrix.
Risk Matrix summary from Step Change in Safety (lots of good risk assessment info (large pdf)) Scroll down to Appendix 1
The key point here is that capture by pirates is a catastrophic outcome, so no matter how you rate the likelihood of capture, very strong countermeasures are required, countermeasures that are beyond the resources of a sailing yacht.
My heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the crew of the Sailing vessel Quest.
The Hawsepiper has a good take on the rise in the level of violence in the HoA area.- Piracy issues
At Manu's Scrips stronger words- J'accuse
I now accuse the international community- and their trigger happy navies- of culpable homicide in connection with the murder of innocent mariners. They sure as hell had knowledge that their acts were likely to cause death; they are not that incompetent.
I accuse them of criminal negligence that has resulted in the barbaric torture of seamen (BIMCO’s words, not mine) - including savage keelhauling, beatings, threats of execution and such assorted outrages. I accuse them of knowingly and deliberately putting seamen’s lives at risk by their calculated escalation of violence when dealing with hijacked or mother ships, shooting crew- human shields or not- and otherwise gambling with mariner lives at risk with full foreknowledge of inevitable fatal consequences.