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  #1  
Old 04-20-2007
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Now this is strange. Australia

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Rescuers are trying to solve the mystery of a yacht found floating off the Queensland coast with food on a table ready to eat and computers running, but no crew.
A massive search has been launched for three men from Perth missing from the 12-metre catamaran, KAZ 11.
Police said the men, aged 56, 63 and 69, were believed to have left Airlie Beach on their 12-metre catamaran on Sunday and were headed to Western Australia.
The catamaran was first spotted by a coastwatch aircraft on Wednesday near the outer Great Barrier Reef.
A rescue helicopter identified the yacht overnight and confirmed there was no one aboard.
Emergency Management Queensland spokesman Jon Hall said crews who boarded the yacht were puzzled by what they found because "everything appeared normal".
"They got on board and said the engine was running, the computers were running, there was a laptop set up on the table which was running, the radio was working, the GPS was working and there was food and utensils set on the table ready to eat, but no sign of the crew," he said.
"It was a bit strange."
Three life jackets and survival equipment, including an emergency beacon, were found on board, but no life rafts.
Mr Hall said emergency crews returned to the boat on Friday morning, around 160km east of Townsville, to check if anyone was trapped inside.
He said they retrieved the boat's GPS system to analyse data for clues to the mysterious disappearance of the crew.
"That will now enable us to track backwards where this yacht has actually been in the last few days, and we're hoping that can pin point the search area for the missing crew," he said.
Emergency workers have also retrieved computers, diaries and charts.
The boat is now being towed to Townsville for closer inspection.
"It seems very unusual," north Queensland police Chief Superintendent Roy Wall told reporters in Townsville.
"The weather on Sunday, Monday wasn't too good - there was a fair sort of a wind blowing out there.
"But it's improved since then, so who knows what could have happened."
Seven aircraft were searching the vicinity for the three men on Friday afternoon.
Their families were being kept informed of search efforts.

Originaly Posted buy fluffy the Wombat but not in full.
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Last edited by SimonV; 04-20-2007 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 04-20-2007
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Old 04-20-2007
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Okay, I can draw a few conclusions as to what happened to the three sailors, using the evidence provided.

Also, I'm not sure if that picture is when they first FOUND the boat or when the coast guard people were bringing it back... because there are fenders on the port side.

If so, we can take the fenders into account...

The fenders are lowered at deck level, which suggests the boat was being prepped for docking with another boat.

They do not say weather they activated their EPBIRB, as they mention an "emergency beacon", I assume they did, or else, why would the emergency crew "find" and board the boat.

The engine was also running, but we don't know if it was in neatral, charging batteries, or in gear(perhaps they were motoring in calm weater, the seas look quite flat.

they said there was no life-raft left on boat(that could mean "dinghy" in press language) but we do not know if they actually carried one.

So here are the possibilities.

Possibility #1) All crew somehow fell overboard during the "windier" conditions the article proposed without life-jackets on and the boat sailed away.

Likelyhood is a little low, as there were kitchen utensils on the table. If they were in "rough" seas, the utensils probably would be all over the cabin, so they must have set them afterwards.

Possibility #2) They were just getting to eat dinner, decided to go for a swim when they were becalmed... jumped in the water, wind came in, and the boat sailed away in light winds.

Likelyhood is higher here, but still low, as you would have to be really stupid or intoxicated to do that in the open Ocean, methinks. But it could have been the case, who knows.

Possbility #3)

The fenders on the boat might suggest they were trying to rondevous with another boat. Perhaps.

a. A boat full of naked hot and horny, well-tanned women. They were brought on board their boat, seduced, out of wild sexual abandon and pleasure they said "to hell with that catamaran, we're staying here", and they continued sailing to fiji.

b. They tried to assist another boat in trouble, and got themselves in trouble in the process

c. Pirates (not likely in Australia), so we will exlude this.

Possibility #4)

They seas got a bit rough, they were inexperienced, panic took over, and they abandoned ship... but again, not likely since the utensils on the table were in order and food was ready to go.

....

My conclusion:

After carefully weighing the options, I think it makes most sense that some kind of unexpected accident happened right when everything was "calm"(as they were preparing lunch) and everyone had their guard down, that's when accidents can have devastating affects and judgement is impaired as you under-estimate things.

There was a case a long ago with two brothers sailing across the Ocean...

The first brother lost his wrist watch over-board during calm conditions... and instictively jumped in after it without a line attached.

The second brother, upon seeing his brother "fall" overboard from the cabin, raced to the cockbit and jumped after his brother to rescue him, later realizing he too was not attached to the boat.

the boat sailed away at a good clip in light winds that they obviously couldn't swim up to. They were rescued miraculously by natives in canoes, as the boat just happened to sail straight into an island 30 miles away, and they natives took a bunch of canoes and headed to where the boat came from.

.... So - I think a possible scenario could be...

Calmer condtions, making food. One person somehow falls overboard from being careless(we've all almost done it many times just by not hanging on to something)

The other two start panicing and taking action . "Take out the dingy! Start the engine! Tie the fenders so he can climb back on!"

The engine is started. They are sailing further and further away from the MOB, they panic, "activate the EPBIRB!" another person jumps in bravely to try to save their friend, the third tries to get the dinghy to help the two guys without lifejackets stay a float.... wihtout thinking, he jumps in the dinghy and goes after them, loosley attaches a line, it slips, the boat sails away...



That's my take on it. Sorry for the long analysis.

I do hope it was the boat full of naked women though. If not, I hope they are found

Last edited by Kacper; 04-20-2007 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 04-20-2007
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...

Final option.

Something very weird, creepy, paranormal happened.

The men activated the emergency beacon because they knew they were going to die, and just wanted to signal land.


After all, the Ocean is a very mysterious place, and not all things that go splashing about in the ocean are written about in the seaminship books.....


If you keep asking yourself the question: "What else could drive three sailors to abandon a perfectly seaworthy vessel in calm conditions...?"...

Then... some pretty odd thoughts can enter your mind.
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Old 04-20-2007
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Okay... well, that small picture wasn't that good.

If you look at the larger picture, you will see the Genoa is completey shredded to bits! Holy cow batman!

That blows the other theories out of the water and points to a more "rough weather" answer as to what happened. Also the dinghy is still there, visible in this picture hanging off the transom... so it takes my dinghy theory out .

The heaving line with the emergency rescue float is still attached to the starboard quarter as well, so points to no rescue attempts to save an MOB.

There's big sag in the forestay, and the main looks like it's out all the way. That suggests they were running or at most on a wide broad-reach. ... My guess is as good as yours, what do you guys think?


Last edited by Kacper; 04-20-2007 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 04-20-2007
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Kacper-

It is possible, that even in rougher condtions, the silverware would have stayed on the table as set. This is a catamaran, not a monohull.

Second, anyone who gets off a sailboat in the middle of the ocean with the sails still raised is a complete idiot, unless the boat is either on fire or sinking. The jib and mainsail are still up. Most sailors, even if they were completely becalmed, would lower the sails before getting in the water.

The fenders really don't tell us much. They could have just left the fender over the side. It isn't like they'll be dragging in the water much, as they would on a monohull, which heels significantly when under sail.

Many multihulls don't carry a liferaft, as they're basically close to unsinkable, so the missing liferaft may not mean anything. Unless there was an open liferaft canister or valise, there is no evidence that the boat had a liferaft at all.

I'm also highly doubtful that it was rough conditions that did it. Most people don't prepare a meal and set a table for rough conditions sailing. Also, I doubt they would have just left a meal sitting out if they were going to the aid of another boat, even if it was Kacper's highly unlikely boat of naked women.

My guess would be that an accident occurred and resulted in a MOB situation. Experienced sailors might not look at a MOB situation as something to trigger an EPIRB or call for help on the VHF about. You might keep the sails up for a MOB recovery attempt. However, a large catamaran is generally a lousy boat for MOB recovery due to the high freeboard. It is possible that the two people or person who remained on-board fell in trying to recover the MOB. This scenario might also explain the lack of missing life jackets. However, I see a life ring on the stern railings, and beileve that they would have thrown that to the MOB in such a situation, so it makes the idea of a MOB situation causing the disappearance a bit less likely.

A modern day Marie Celeste perhaps?
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Old 04-20-2007
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I think they all just fell overboard:

The head sail got damaged, so they started the engine to aid in taking it down. The two younger guys went forward to work on it, while the 69 year old pointed the boat. The wind and waves were too much and the two forward guys fell over. The old guy, came about, and then went to the rail to help his buddy's, but was knocked overboard by the loose boom (see picture). He was hurt and by the time the two others got to him, the boat was out of reach.

Trust me on this; Older sailors fall over. My usual sailing partner is my 70 year old father, and seriously, he's gone in the water at least 6 times in the last five years. I remember the first time...when I was about 12 years old (30 some years ago), he and I circumnavigated Vancouver Island, long story..but anyway, he went over in the middle of the night (calm seas, light wind) while I was below resting. Fortunately I heard it happen and I was able to get around to him in time, but it was pretty close...
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Old 04-20-2007
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I doubt the boom could knock anyone out of the cockpit. It is both too short and too high to do so. I doubt it even clears the rear edge of the solid bimini.

But the falling overboard sounds pretty plausible... but why would they serve dinner and then go forward to douse the jib??? That doesn't make sense... why cook the food and then set the food and table before doing that.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-20-2007
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Did anyone read the account in Sail magazine or Cruising World this past issue about the boat that got hit by the bow wave of a large freighter? They didn't see the freighter until the last minute and didn't have time to veer off (self steering engaged, preventers on). One of the guys jumped off, the boat rolled, the sails got shredded, etc... Perhaps they were on a collision course, jumped off at the last minute, the boat didn't roll but it was OK for the most part, but left behind the people...?
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Old 04-20-2007
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I remember that story...the boat didn't roll, but was knocked down, and the rig was damaged, torn away by the stored anchor of the ship that ran them down. The hull was split near the bow and needed to be reglassed. Two women stayed aboard, and the guy dove off IIRC. Also, the freighter turned towards them and ran them down...whether it was intentional or just stupidity... can't be said, but the company that owned the ship paid for the repairs IIRc.

Only, a multihull is far more likely to get pushed away by the bow wave, since it has far less inertia than a similar sized monohull. It wouldn't be rocked as severely by the bow wave as a monohull would be. And finally, I don't see any damage to the boat, as the stanchions and lifelines don't appear to be damaged at all...and if they had been hit by a large ship, I'd expect there to be some damage to the stanchions and lifelines.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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