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Old 07-08-2015, 23:47   #16
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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The danger is actually overstated. It is chiefly bad in certain coastal waters, such as those off the Pacific coast of Panama and around Borneo, on account of the logging industry. I have only ever met one skipper, professional or otherwise, who has seen a bona fide container at sea, which he picked up on radar as it was floating with a corner sticking 5 feet out of the water. I think container strikes are so rare but so talked about they rise to the level, almost, of "urban legend". Whale strikes are much more common and indeed I have been bumped by one at one time, though not hard.

It has to be said that the overwhelming majority of whalestrike SINKINGS are of wooden boats, as they are the most vulnerable build to this kind of impact.

This at least partly explains the decline in whalestrike sinkings despite the recovery in some species of whales and the increase in sail traffic on the oceans.

I am friends with several of the Robertsons, and they run a website on facebook with the same name as Dougal's book: Survive the Savage Sea.
Thank you Steve for the informative response. Yours is the voice of experience and reason.

Cheers
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Old 08-08-2015, 00:42   #17
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Consider this. Driving along a road. You go around a corner, and there ahead to you is a crashed car, you don't have time to brake much, maybe you slow to 80km/hour And then you collide and very bad things happen to everybody in the car!

This is much more likely than hitting a whale, or a container or whatever at a speed of about 15 km per hour. All you will probably notice is a bang and shudder through the boat, maybe the speed will drop and the next morning you will notice a slight gash in the paint.

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Old 08-08-2015, 08:04   #18
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Kind of reinforces the principal of keeping a 24/7 lookout doesn't it
Cheers/Len
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Old 08-08-2015, 08:47   #19
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Ishmael.
Gesundheit
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:11   #20
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Butler on his vessel in the San Juan marina in Puerto Rico in 1999. He was in his seventies at the time, preparing for another Atlantic crossing. He led a very colorful life, an American born and raised in pre-Castro Cuba. He signed and dedicated a copy of his book about the sinking of his boat in the Pacific, and the 66 days they spent in a life raft. He wrote inside the cover: For David: Fair winds and whale-less nights." Unfortunately, I am no longer in possession of the book. He mentions one point which he claims saved the lives of he and his wife. He had a hand powered desalinater with him. I took his advice, and I have one in my ditch bag. I have cruised for years in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans, and had several close encounters with whales. I believe that unless one strikes a sleeping whale, or a pod of whales intent on playfully destroying a vessel, both of which are rare, that whales are far from the greatest danger faced by cruisers. The same applies to extreme weather and piracy, both of which can usually be avoided by prudent mariners. The greatest danger at sea are the sailors themselves, both oneself, making a dangerous, careless mistake or miscalculation, and those of other sailors and boat operators whom we may encounter. Far more danger awaits onshore, where I personally, lost 3 years of normal life after being struck by a car as a pedestrian in Florida. That said, being struck by a whale is not so unusual, especially in certain regions, South Africa, for example.
Fair winds, all!
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Old 08-08-2015, 11:49   #21
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

For those interested in the group I read an study by a marine biologist where he quoted a statistic of great importance to us crossing large bodies of ocean out there. Greater then 85% of whale and killers whale collisions has occurred to boats that had their bottoms painted red. There's a photo out there where a whale broched on top of a sailboat in South Africa the bottom of the boat is red. Maybe there's something to think about on your next bottom job and the color of paint you use.
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Old 08-08-2015, 11:55   #22
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Interesting.....please indulge a stupid question....


With all the thousands of possible semi submerged containers, whales, unlit boats etc which may pose as a yacht crippling hazard. Does everybody on passages just sail along at night hoping not to hit something. Nobody stops the boat till daylight?....given one is in proper sea and weather conditions to do so.
I don't know any sailor who stops sailing when the sun goes down while making an ocean passage. There was that one single handing Russian fellow that made a few months passage across the Pacific who hove to at night to sleep but he is an extremely odd exception who marched to his own drummer.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:01   #23
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Herman Melville used the true story of the sinking of the Essex for his novel Moby Dick. It's a great true story and good read.

Long survival passages such as that experience with Captain Bligh in Mutiny of the Bounty are all good examples. As with Steve Callahan's solo experience it seems that a strong will to live and ingenuity were what kept him going. I'm not certain that many folks who don't survive just give up.
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Old 08-08-2015, 16:41   #24
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Great post, I've read and reread Adrift by Steven Callahan several times, an excellent book. Amazing fortitude and ingenuity he mustered to see it through to landfall by himself. I could be mistaken but I think he still holds the length record for surviving alone. I've not yet purchased my cruising boat but I already have a very good idea of what to stock my ditch bag with when I do. Not only was his persistence impressive but the way he came to understand his seagoing companions around his little drifting island was spiritual and thought provoking. Have recommended this book to several of my friends.
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Old 08-08-2015, 18:19   #25
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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For those interested in the group I read an study by a marine biologist where he quoted a statistic of great importance to us crossing large bodies of ocean out there. Greater then 85% of whale and killers whale collisions has occurred to boats that had their bottoms painted red. There's a photo out there where a whale broched on top of a sailboat in South Africa the bottom of the boat is red. Maybe there's something to think about on your next bottom job and the color of paint you use.
Begs the question....do killer (or any other) whales see in color? Perhaps one of our knowledgable members can respond factually.
I just spent 16 days at sea and my bottom is painted red
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Old 08-08-2015, 18:58   #26
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Apparently mammals can see in color like you can and red especially marroding males equate it to blood therefore attack. That is a scientific hypothesis that has been proven with close relatives the Dolphins.
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Old 08-08-2015, 19:18   #27
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

So how does bottom color attracting whales in the dead of night work? It appears whales don't see color in the same way humans do. I found the attached article somewhat enlightening. Red is discussed - the color of food.

How likely is a collision with whales at sea? – Yachting World
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Old 08-08-2015, 19:58   #28
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

I think that red color on the bottom of a boat acts as an irritant like with Bulls in the bullfights. It's the color of blood so why create a hustle with something that can hurt you in the ocean don't forget you are in their environment. I paint the bottom of my boat always blue since I spend long stretches of time away of land. Cheap insurance.
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Old 08-08-2015, 20:38   #29
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Add to that an excellent read, 'In the Heart of the Sea', about the whaleship Essex. It's a great book with brutal detail on what those men suffered through after their vessel was sunk by a whale and it's also now being made into a movie, due out on December 11, 2015. I personally am really looking forward to the movie.
I also read the book, after seeing an exhibit in the Nantucket Whaling Museum. Not sure I want to see the movie; it's a pretty grim story.
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Old 08-08-2015, 20:40   #30
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Thanks....I understand that. I understand that radar may pick out some of the hazardous stuff.....but sleeping whales?, submerged containers?.....say on a moonless night. I've read that fwd looking sonar doesn't work that well for that purpose unless one is going really slow. Maybe this issue just falls under acceptable risk.

I'm just doubtful that these objects will be seen at night. Just my humble uninformed opinion. Not trying to be argumentative.
Worry about lightning. It'll keep your mind off containers and whales.
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