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Old 19-04-2007, 20:07   #1
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Emergency crews puzzled by yacht find Yacht Lead

This from Australian Associated Press. At first I thought single-hander MOB, but authorities saying 3 people. That's really odd:


BRISBANE - An unmanned yacht found drifting off the north Queensland coast had computers running and even food on a table ready to eat - but no crew, puzzled emergency services say.

The 12-metre catamaran was first spotted by a coastwatch aircraft on Wednesday near the outer Great Barrier Reef after leaving Airlie Beach on Sunday.

A rescue helicopter identified the yacht overnight and confirmed there was no one aboard.

Police have confirmed three men are missing.

Emergency Management Queensland spokesman Jon Hall said crews 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."

Mr Hall said crews returned to the boat this morning, around 80 nautical miles off 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 pinpoint the search area for the missing crew," he said.

A massive sea and air search spanning Airlie Beach and Townsville is underway.

A police spokesman said it was not yet known where the boat or crew was from.
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Old 19-04-2007, 20:36   #2
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Hmmm. I wonder if these three guys went swimming and got carried away by the current.

Several times I've been tempted to jump in the water to go for a swim offshore. I have always resisted the urge. I think about great whites and other creatures from the deep.

If there were three guys on board, an accidental MOB problem wouldn't happen because it's unlikely that all three would fall overboard at the same time. But intentional MOB by going swimming is definitely in the realm of possibility. You simply take a dip in the water to refresh yourself before lunch.

When we jump off our boat in unknown water, we usually throw a line in the water so that we can see what the current is doing. Sometimes it's surprising to see the line streaming straight away from the boat rather than hanging down under the yacht.

Currents on the Ozzie coast can be awesomely powerful. While we were crusing in OZ, there were several trawlers pulling nets along the bottom, and they hooked their nets on reefs and underwater obstructions. You might not think that would be a problem at first glance. But what happens is that the current is running so fast that the boat gets pulled under and sinks in just a few minutes. The boat is tethered to the bottom by the net, and if they can't immediately release the net, the current continues their forward motion, and the pull of the net quickly capsizes the trawler. It happened to a large commercial trawler from our Marina in Mooloolaba.

The article in the Ozzie paper also noted that there were strong tradewinds blowing as well. It could be that they were swimming, and the high windage of the catamaran caused it to sail away from them faster than they could swim when the wind came up.

I'll bet that either a strong current carried them away from the yacht while they were going for a swim, or an unexpected onslaught of wind carried the yacht away from them during their swim. Or perhaps wind and current together did the dastardly deed.
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Old 19-04-2007, 20:48   #3
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that would have to be the most logical explanation.
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Old 19-04-2007, 23:04   #4
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Question Yul Brenner says, "A Puzzlement"

A quick dip before lunch, underestimating the current strength: okay, I can go for that. But they must have all gone in together, or else whoever had been left aboard would have motored up and retreived the man (men) overboard.

All over the side at once is the only way I can square the running engine & relaxed state of the boat with the rest of the data.

No missing rescue equipment or other clues that might indicate a more insidious scenario?
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Old 19-04-2007, 23:05   #5
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Years ago, on a July day with almost NO wind, my wife's parents went for a swim off our transom in Lake Washington in Seattle. One slight puff and the boat (a heavy offshore cruiser) almost left them in an instant! I'll never forget the look on their faces!!!

Steve B.
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Old 19-04-2007, 23:24   #6
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yet-to-be released info (i have an inside source): sails were up, but damaged. preliminary theory is sudden squall pitched them all over the side.

any friends from oz know if the area is subject to williwaws?

still odd, in any case, that "food, utensils set out" - in other words, the cabin seemed to be in order.
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Old 20-04-2007, 00:11   #7
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The boat and the bodies should experience the same current, more likely the boat was making some way and they underestimated their ability to keep up. A strong swimmer would have trouble catching aboat moving at 1-2 kn.
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Old 20-04-2007, 00:14   #8
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tried unsuccessfully to post a photo of the boat. the genoa is shredded to pieces and the main appears to have one reef tucked in.
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Old 20-04-2007, 00:48   #9
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All three were from Western Australia,ages from 50 to 60 something.No mention about a dingy missing or if they had one.Anything could have hapened.The table and the motor add a twist of mistry to the whole saga as well.Mudnut.
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Old 20-04-2007, 01:22   #10
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Arrow 'Ghost yacht' found off Australia

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | 'Ghost yacht' found off Australia
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Old 20-04-2007, 01:37   #11
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Maybe Gianormus Squid plucked them off the deck?? 8-0
;-) :-)
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Old 20-04-2007, 01:49   #12
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This is the third time this has been posted today..........

Should we merge them all together????????????

Emergency crews puzzled by yacht find Yacht Lead

Another Maree Celeste?
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Old 20-04-2007, 01:59   #13
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more info at ABC News Online - Home
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Old 20-04-2007, 03:01   #14
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Very Mysterious...

I am very familiar with the area as my parents lived there for many years and I visited often.

The Whitsunday Islands area off Airlie Beach can have gusts between the islands and strong tidal flows but I would expect that if they were going to Townsville they would have been well to the north of this area.

The MSLP (Mean Sea Level Presure) charts for the dates of their voyage show (to my inexperienced eye) fine weather with a hint of rain at one time only.

Doesn't look like there would have been much wind, so the torn sails are a bit of a mystery too.
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Old 20-04-2007, 03:27   #15
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Originally Posted by cooper
That link says it all.The missus said"Murder suicide"Just now Jo said "Ya know the leagues on next".Hey Wheels,are we gonna win or what?Opps,sorry.But after all...The footys on next.There is a liferaft missing thuo.Now that would raise some Q's & A's.Mudnut.PS Good luck tonight Kiwis. .Mudnut.
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