Sheathing a wood boat in frg, dunno. I've heard folks with professional reputations say that's guaranteed to TRAP water and compromise what is left of the hull. And if the glass cracks for any reason, you're helixed. (PG-13 acronym.) Not to mention, unless they vacuum bagged the boat or rotated the hull upside down...really, glassing something that big while restraining gravity?? I think the phrase is "Yeah, but..."
TD's quite right - sheathing a wooden hull in fg is a last-ditch desperate measure to save a hull and can only be done after the boat is properly dried out, otherwise it simply peels off in sheets.
Maybe Nina wasn't in boat-show condition, but to counter the slightly alarmist view quoted by Jon, a couple of points here:
1. If the boat is bouncing off waves (and it would be) there is going to be plenty of pressure on the mast steps especially the foremast step... but I notice she had aluminium masts. If she was designed to carry timber masts, the original mast steps would be oversized for alloy ones. Assuming for a sec that the step did fail, in traditional boat design the piece of solid timber immediately under it is called the keel
and runs the full length of the boat. ie. the mast isn't going anywhere. Sure, unfair pressure on the mast step/keel could cause the garboard seams to widen, but... hang on a sec.. this boat is sheathed!
Not likely, sorry. Will water rush in? Sure.. but slowly - meaning a boat that size won't sink instantly and, if the bilge pumps are working, might even stay afloat for a long time. Certainly more than long enough to trigger the EPIRB, use the Sat Phone and/or get into a liferaft. (Remember the "Bounty"?)
2. Being dismasted and holed by a mast is a more likely way to sink rapidly, but I notice from the photos that she's keel-stepped and these are aluminium masts. I've seen plenty of dismastings in my life and in all cases I've seen, keel-stepped alloy masts bend and snap - they don't "break off" and fall over the side like a timber mast might; not immediately in any case... and if she'd been holed and sunk in this way (known as a "loss of structural integrity"
), there'd be wreckage floating around for the search parties to find.
You can get "rogue waves" in any ocean and most certainly in the Tasman - and common enough that they're almost an occupational hazard. I'd like to think she's been dismasted and blown far outside the search area, but it is quite possible she was simply overwhelmed by a rogue wave and went down in one piece. Perhaps time will tell..