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Freedom 39
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found this posted on another site and thought it was interesting. To view the video click here Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine and scroll down to the 4th picture entitled video of the day and read the short text. You will see an uninsured 42' catamaran hit and dismasted on purpose. Can you guess why?

After you have your hypothesis go here to see the rest Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine . Scroll down to where it says the answer to Wednesday's quiz and read the text before watching the video.

What do you think about the problem and the solution?
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Uh, the captain and crew did get off the catamaran. There is a picture of him 'after' the rescue in the second link. There is a lot that was not shown in the first video like where the hull of the cat went after being hit (presumably down the port side of the container ship). You saw the cat and it's mast getting felled like a tree in a forest.
The cat could not steer because it's rudder(s) were bent over 90 degrees by the whale surfacing. The sail drive engine had been shoved through the hull by the impact of the whale (while gouging his flesh) which caused some compartments to flood also rendering the cat helpless. The captain of the container ship steered into the cat so his crew could expedite the rescue of the crew through some opening in the ship that was not visible in the video.
The reason for this disaster was first and foremost the whale rising to the surface beneath the cat (shearing its rudder and rendering its engines useless). I have often wondered about this kind of thing occurring on the ocean where a whale might cause inadvertent damage to a boat by rising in an inopportune spot, under a boat.
Without getting into the argument of whether a spade rudder vs. skeg rudder would have helped it would seem that the sail drive mechanism is a big liability. A straight shaft driven propeller may have bent and even broken the hull as well during an impact like this.
A solution to this problem could be to have pre-recorded sounds of killer whales transmit from the hull of the boat into the water. This might induce the whales to consider surfacing a bit farther off. The electrical cost of such a device could be pretty expensive although it could be rigged to a depth meter/fish finder to trigger when on the open ocean. No one wants a whale or a submarine to surface beneath them while out there in a small boat.
 

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There's a theory that might explain it, but it's just a theory. Look at the second video. In it, the ship was fairly close to the catamaran, but, as time passed, the cat drifted further away from the ship, apparently out of reach of a throwing line. If the wind was strong, and at the correct angle (coming from the right side of the video picture), perhaps the wind was turned by the side of the ship, and, when the cat was near the bow of the ship, it was backwinded by the wind coming off the ship, and the wind pushed the cat away from it, as appears to be what happened in the second video. In the second video, the cat begins to move away ftom the ship so quickly that it almost looks like it's being driven under power, and, since we know the cat's drive was damaged, only the wind could have caused it. After failing twice to get close enough to recover the cat's crew, the ship's captain might have concluded that the only way to get close enough was to actually nudge the cat, at a low enough speed not to crush it, and to have crew at the bow of the big ship, throwing a line to the cat's crew. If that was the ship captain's plan, it appears he controlled his big ship's speed and direction very artfully.
 

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Freedom 39
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Good question lapworth. Hard to know if the steering could have been rigged to allow some directional control. If so then they could have at least sailed someplace for repairs. It would seem a pretty miserable voyage with all the holes in the hull and no motor to recharge the batteries for communication or navigational lights. The opportunity to get off would be a hard one to pass up considering all the damage to the vessel.

I thought the idea of dismasting in itself was a pretty extreme solution to allow the tanker to get close enough to allow safe egress from the cat.

Instead of just leaving the cat behind, what would happen if it was towed? Would it break apart or drag along like an oversize dinghy?
 

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I still don't get it. How do you rescue someone by hitting their sailboat with your 600 ft freighter? Sorry, I'm not buying the theory that they had to hit the cat to get close enough to throw them a line.
 

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It maybe that the point where they must climb up the freighter to board is flared like near the bow so in order to get close enough they had to ditch the mast so it wouldnt bang up against the freighter and keep the boat from getting close enough...just a thought got that theory because my grandparents were once being rescued and when the tanker was towing their boat the flare of the hull crushed all the antennas and top of the mast forcing them to get a new mast.
 

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Owner, Green Bay Packers
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It's difficult to second guess what took place, to restate the obvious. Normally in a situation like that the freighter, and a freighter it is, would lay alongside to windward of the boat and lower either a Jacob's ladder or a cargo net over the side. Depending upon it's placement on the freighter, the gangway might be lowered with a length of Jacob's ladder rigged off the lower platform on it. In either case, the catamaran's crew would then climb on board.

there would be no advantage to boarding over the bows as they would be higher than the main deck and the flare insurmountable.

It is possible, if not plausible, that the mast somehow contributed to the erratic motion of the catamaran and made laying alongside her hazardous, risking crushing the boat and preventing the crew from abandoning here before that happened. I'd have thought one of the ship's derricks could have done so quite the more easily and uncontrollably than any contrived collision.

Failing all of that, I'd have likely lowered a well frapped lifeboat on it's davits and had the crew climb on board it from the catamaran and then been hoisted back on board.

The way to do it would have been to lower a mooring line from the main deck forward and then have the crew of the catamaran use one of their mooring lines bent onto it to secure it to the bow of the catamaran. That line would have then served as a sea painter to keep the catamaran alongside. If the broken rudder caused sheering away from the side of the ship, it would be a similar matter to lower a line from aft to take a strain on her stern and keep her alongside. Thus secured to starboard, for instance, the freighter could put the wind on the port bow and provide a quite comfortable lee to work in for disembarkation.

I suspect there's more to the story, yes?
 

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Barkeep - Sailor's Pub
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He played the Ukulele... Had he been a mando player we'd be reading:

"Crackshot Mando-player uses instrument to propel boat to safety and save injured whale...."

:) :D :D
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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OK, so I don't know my big ships as well as Sway and others here. It was a freighter in the video that rescued the crew of the disabled catamaran.
I guess there are 2 questions here:
1) was it necessary for the ship to come so close to the cat as to dismast it? (which everyone seems to think the most important)
OR
2) how do you protect against a whale from surfacing underneath your vessel causing the damage in the first place?
In my mind's eye the real question is #2 as the captain of the freighter did rescue the crew and their vessel was inoperable (therefore useless) anyway.
 
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