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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Vessels Lost, Missing, or in Danger
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Im inclined to think that this boat being so long as well as old simply broke apart from serious wave actions. I read the boat was excellently maintained but its still 80a plus years old and i assume made of wood. All it takes is for a weak point to exist or develop. I think this boat was broken by a wave and sank in seconds or minutes. Its been over 3 weeks and they were in hurrican winds. The boat was too long for such an extended pounding and too old to be counted on to maintain structual inegrity for such a pronounced series of low pressure storm cells and hard wave action.

I get no joy from writing this but i do not think we will ever hear from this boat or crew again. Metal or fiberglass even after eighty years wear down. I think such a long wooden boat, a racing style no less, simply met her match and lost.

I hope im wrong.
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  #12  
Old 06-28-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

The "biggest ever" search of the seas surrounding New Zealand turned up no sign of an American schooner that has been missing for more than three weeks, officials said Friday.
Search and Rescue officer Neville Blakemore said the 70-foot vessel “probably had a catastrophic event” while traveling from New Zealand to Newcastle, Australia.

Missing American schooner 'probably had a catastrophic event'; 7 remain missing - World News
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  #13  
Old 06-29-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harborless View Post
Im inclined to think that this boat being so long as well as old simply broke apart from serious wave actions. I read the boat was excellently maintained but its still 80a plus years old and i assume made of wood. All it takes is for a weak point to exist or develop. I think this boat was broken by a wave and sank in seconds or minutes. Its been over 3 weeks and they were in hurrican winds. The boat was too long for such an extended pounding and too old to be counted on to maintain structual inegrity for such a pronounced series of low pressure storm cells and hard wave action.

I get no joy from writing this but i do not think we will ever hear from this boat or crew again. Metal or fiberglass even after eighty years wear down. I think such a long wooden boat, a racing style no less, simply met her match and lost.

I hope im wrong.
Wood is one of most fatigue resistant materials know to man. That is why trees can flex and bend many hundreds of years without breaking.

Everything points to Nina being well maintained. It is possible the owners missed something in an overhaul or haulout but that is true of any boat. As long as the fastenings are good and there is no rot and no termites, her being long or more than 80 years old means nothing.
  #14  
Old 06-29-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

It should be better appreciated by all sailors how vulnerable a vessel is to a knockdown/rollover by a freak wave once the average wave height approaches the beam of the vessel. It certainly sounds like she was in those conditions. Much of heavy weather vessel management is maintaining control and attitude to keep the vessel in the least vulnerable attitude. A small steering mistake or failure that the vessel would normally survive can be fatal if it happens at the wrong moment.

"Freak wave" is a poor term because there are probably two or three waves of the right size and shape at any one spot in severe conditions every day. The chances of a boat being at that spot are very low, however. People circumnavigate and never see one.

Rig loss in such an event could quickly lead to sinking if the attached wreckage damaged the hull. The remaining hope, if she was rolled, is that all communications ability was lost and rescuers are looking for masts and overlooking the boat. It's a pretty grim and slim hope.

A ship strike would also be high on the list in those conditions. Lookout becomes difficult on both sides and there is a tendency for big ship lookouts to assume that no one would be out in such conditions anyway. I've seen that effect in coastal waters on nasty days.

A large piece of debris, just awash and invisible until one wave before.....

The sea is a dangerous place, even for the most experienced and competent.
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  #15  
Old 06-29-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

I hear you. Its not the wood by its self. Its the wood in conjuction with the length as well age.
you have surely seen long navy vessels twist up in hard seas. Same would have been occuring on nina.
i think she broke apart and sank before anyone had time or presence of mind to activate epird.
  #16  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Seems in those conditions any boat may have had a difficult time...sad news
  #17  
Old 06-29-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Okay at regular computer now. What I was trying to say is that yes you are correct with wood being very malleable however a tree and a wooden boat are much different. A tree is all the same piece of wood- a boat made of wood is hundreds or thousands of pieces of wood from different trees. Add the fact it was above 50 feet AND 80+ years old and you have a recipe for disaster. The long boat is the worst feature because after a certain age the structural integrity will weaken. It only needs to start with one board. Then you have the constant bending and turning of the wood in those big seas for days on end AND wood and fastenings over 80 years old and it all really seems to be the most likely scenario. This also explains why no emergency beacons have been activated.

It most likely would have broken around the middle where the most strain was meaning thousands of gallons would have entered every few seconds leaving only perhaps 2 minutes or even less to activate EPRIB and take to life rafts. Add the hurricane winds and 26' seas and this becomes impossible. It would take you at least 20 seconds to realize what the hell just happened and by that time your probably already going down since the waves and wind do not just stop. Once one board splinters the rest fail in rapid succession from the strain and pulling. This means that the boats crew would be swarmed with water while being thrown around by wave action trying to figure what the hell was going on- I think they sank before anything could be done to activate or take to life rafts. Its a terrible situation but the age of the boat, material of construction, and weather at sea ALL point to this event being the culprit.

If the mast had come down or rigging failed the hull would still be intact at least a minute or two before a spar or something would hole the boat- this would only create a smaller hole and give them minutes not seconds to react and activate beacons. With so many people on board I do not see how someone would not have activated or made a may day call.

I think the boat broke apart and was flooded in seconds and went down in hardly any time at all leaving no one able to do anything except thank God for a life lived and pray for a quick death. Its incredibly sad but I do not see any other really plausible scenario that would not have left a 7 man crew able to hit an emergency activator button or make a mayday.

I still hope I am wrong- but science leads me to conclude I am not as well as going on four weeks with no word.
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  #18  
Old 06-29-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

I'd bet Roger Long's observations turn out to be correct. IF she went down it was probably because of some cascade of events caused by something out of the normal. This vessel should have been able to deal with the described sea conditions.
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  #19  
Old 06-29-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harborless View Post
Im inclined to think that this boat being so long as well as old simply broke apart from serious wave actions. I read the boat was excellently maintained but its still 80a plus years old and i assume made of wood.
Mmmmm - seems to me that wooden boats last longer than you think. Auckland has regular regattas for vessel that are well over a century old and are still stronger than the average Beneteau. There was very little carbon fibre to be found back then.

This one is about 80 years old - built in 1934 - although this picture is probably less than a year old



Comment on the website:

One of the original J Class trio, Endeavour like fellow yachts Shamrock V and Velsheda, is in continual development. The 77 year-old yacht was relaunched on 10 October 2011 having just undergone a major 18-month refit at New Zealand yard Yachting Developments, which included work to the yacht’s interior, deck strengthening, a new winch package, a new mast and sails.

Hardly worth spending millions on a boat that has a short lifespan.

As far as news reports here in Auckland I don't believe that any reports have been received from the Nina but then maybe journos are keeping it quiet - why ruin a good story?
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  #20  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Harborless,

I think you are just speculating and really don't understand wooden boats. The fact that she was over 80 years old probably means she was built out of better old growth timber and actually probably better construction than a new build.

I don't want to highjack the thread since anything could have happened. We could all speculate until the cows come home but I think suddenly breaking in two because she is long or old is probably one of the least likely scenarios.
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