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Old 27-01-2012, 09:07   #31
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

Just a thought.

Years ago he used to carry TWO dinghies: a wooden one and an inflatable, one on the davits, one towed behind. He said it was good practice to always have a dinghy by the boat while at anchor so people would not know when you are away from it.

IF he still had the two dinghies and only one was at the boat, we may have our answer.
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Old 27-01-2012, 10:17   #32
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

If he did end up in the water or in a dinghy, intentionally or by accident, he could have easily been carried away. Tidal currents along that edge of the banks are very strong.

Would be nice if he was in a second dinghy and found floating but time is running out on that option.
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Old 27-01-2012, 12:46   #33
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Viagem View Post
I feel horrible. At daybreak on December 30th we entered the Bahama bank just south of Memory Rock. We saw a sailboat anchored just to the north of us. We figured someone was just resting before continuing on. We spent about a week in Spanish Cay and headed back to Ft Lauderdale. As we were coming off the bank just south of Memory Rock, again we saw a sailboat anchored just north of our track. I couldn't positively identify it as the same boat and because it was anchored near a shallow part of the bank, I didn't want to get to close to it. What should I have done?
Not felt guilty about it, that's for sure. I wouldn't usually consider approaching an anchored boat in no visible distress that I didn't know in an unfamiliar or off the beaten track anchorage for the very sound reason that I would not wish to be approached under the same circumstances.

We could be taking a nap! Besides, it's far too easy to misinterpret strangers on your boat. I don't even like rafting up because people cross my decks whom I don't know!

I might, if I needed information, hail him over the radio or even through a loudhailer, but there was no call to do so, nor were you presumably aware he was missing at that date.

Solo sailors know the risk and accept it. A howling, skinny dog on deck? Yes, maybe I would sidle in for a look, if only to report it. But you didn't say that was the case here.
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Old 27-01-2012, 16:48   #34
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

Please dont second guess yourself in that regard. John no longer carried two dingies to our knowledge. He was a clever talented man, built his latest hard shell dingy, so it would be very light and stable. Easy for him to get up on the davits. Although disenchanted with much of society he was certainly happy when sailing. He and the dog were devoted to each other.
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Old 27-01-2012, 17:01   #35
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

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I wouldn't usually consider approaching an anchored boat in no visible distress that I didn't know in an unfamiliar or off the beaten track anchorage for the very sound reason that I would not wish to be approached under the same circumstances.
Nobody should feel guilty for not checking the boat out when sailing by, but I don't understand this statement (above). Sure, I might not approach a boat in a lonely anchorage, but at the same time I might very well go over just to say hello and I wouldn't be at all surprised if somebody did the same to me--in fact it has happened numerous times. I frequently anchor off the beaten path, but I don't assume that means someone won't swing by to say hello. Met a lot of nice people and locals that way.
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Old 28-01-2012, 16:55   #36
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

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Nobody should feel guilty for not checking the boat out when sailing by, but I don't understand this statement (above). Sure, I might not approach a boat in a lonely anchorage, but at the same time I might very well go over just to say hello and I wouldn't be at all surprised if somebody did the same to me--in fact it has happened numerous times. I frequently anchor off the beaten path, but I don't assume that means someone won't swing by to say hello. Met a lot of nice people and locals that way.
The "lonely anchorage" thing is what I was aiming at. My point, insofar as I was trialing it here, was that short of putting up a cocktail flag or a string of party lights, I would not always assume that my unsolicited company was welcome without other signs. After safely anchoring, there might be naps to be had, gear to be stowed, cleaning to be done, repairs to be made, or simply "a breather" to be taken. Calling on the VHF solves a lot of these issues, of course, but if someone showed up at 4 in the afternoon and anchored 300 m away, I wouldn't say "hello" until the next day, nor would I expect to be "hello'd" first. It's respect for their privacy and the consideration that they might have things to do first rather than drink rum with fellow cruisers that would stay my hand, or rather, oar.

No signs of life for a few days running (and certainly the howls of a hungry dog) would probably pique my curiosity, but some cruisers would just stop in an isolated spot for a meal or a sleep and would move on.
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Old 28-01-2012, 17:04   #37
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

I think we're probably splitting hairs here. I'm not saying I would immediately go over to his boat and knock on the hull to see if anyone was home, but if I observed someone up and about I certainly might circle before anchoring and say hi, or I might dinghy over later, again usually if I observed someone. Any experienced boater would pretty quickly detect if things weren't right on the boat. If after a few hours someone isn't up on deck checking the anchor line before sunset, or just looking around, something is pretty unusual. Let's put it this way, if I'm anchored in a remote anchorage and I hear someone come in, and you can almost always hear that through the hull, I will always pop my head up to see who it is--if someone doesn't do the same to me coming into a remote anchorage it is a might unusual in some out of the way place like that.
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Old 28-01-2012, 17:31   #38
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

I feel pretty much like Kettlewell on this, we don,t bother anyone the first night at a ancorage. But if we are staying, Connies got to offer at least some Home baked Bread !! shes a Suzie Homemaker kinda girl, LOL so we wouls have rowed over to be a good neighbor this has led us bout 20 yrs ago in the Marianas, to find a single hander with a badly broken wrist, running a semi-low grade fever,Connie being an RN cured his fever and gave him something for pain and splinted his wrist. I sailed him and his boat to Guam,while Connie stayed with the old BnC, next day we both back to my boat. so its good to ck after some wait time unless you see them! just my 2 cents Bob and Connie
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Old 28-01-2012, 17:37   #39
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

Hey, Bob and Connie, come knock on Minke anytime you see me in an anchorage and bring some of that bread! We'll come up with something to make it a party.
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Old 28-01-2012, 17:53   #40
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

We had the opertunity to meet John and Dingo in Waterford, N.Y. at the Erie Canal welcoming center. The Pilothouse Alberg was truly a unique boat. He was on his way south again, just waiting out the rainy weather before hitting the Hudson River.
We truly hope there is a good ending to this report. Our prayers are for his safe return, and that Dingo fairs well.
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Old 28-01-2012, 18:21   #41
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

No courtesy flag usually indication of having not cleared customs.Perhaps the first skiff to meet him were some locals bent on robbery.The first skiff to arrive alongside us after anchoring off DR before clearing customs were some locals of which one had the pistolla stuck in his jeans under his t-shirt. We had little use of spanish and it was after dark and no ID was shown to us idendifying them as police undercover.We laugh about it now but at the time there was some stress but we pulled out the rum and poured drinks alround the cockpit table.Later we heard they show ID immediately upon boarding in the DR since some Texan shot first.I would not want anyone just bumping up against my hull without use of fenders and clamouring aboard speaking rapidfire spanish and scaring the beejesus out of the women and us to. Ma non brute hombre but proper procedure anywhere is show ID first. We thought we were drinking with the bandits and the bandits had decided we had nothing worth stealing until the next day a local told us in English they were the undercover shore patrol who had commandered a local boat to come out and see if we was smugglers.Robbery of yachts is bad for the tourist biz but i am sure the police and BASRA know the difference between a hungry dog damage and a robbers search for loot.The lone elderly are preyed upon in more places than the shopping mall parking lot.I hope some solo sailers learn that a quick flare sent skyward is like turning on the backyard floodlights while the theives cut the chain on your barbeque.Better to cry wolf by firing a flare than go missing in shark waters.
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Old 28-01-2012, 18:46   #42
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

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I know/knew John very well. We were neighbours one year he spent the winter here in Ontario. Surprisingly he turned his Alberg into a pilot house Alberg and it worked.
This was his 18th trip to the Bahamas. John, if he had a breath in his body would not have left that dog ( Dingo) to starve. He was a prudent knowledgable sailor. Yes he returned to Lake Ontario every summer. A mutual friend says he had cleared in some time ago at Green Turtle Cay. this means his boat was in the wrong place, in the wrong direction. He would have been headed further south in day hops. green turtle to little abaco, to royal island to Hatchet Bay Eleuthera and then hop his way to Georgetown. He enjoyed racing there.
It would be nice if we could bring the dog home. there is a home waiting for Dingo with people he is familiar with.
I doubt I will see my friend again. My heart is sore today.
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Fair Winds my friend john
Witchcraft and any others who know John Batchelor,
Like Carys from the Globe, I am also writing an article about John. I am a reporter with the Toronto Star looking for more information about the man himself and his life both in Canada and at sea.

I can be reached at LCasey "at" thestar "dot" ca or my office line: 416-869-4944 and would love to talk to anyone tonight (Saturday night.)

Thank you,
Liam Casey, Toronto Star staff reporter
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Old 28-01-2012, 20:48   #43
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

I will have more details on our website soon - new information has confirmed the timeline. Everything is consistent with this scenario: The Joy B departed Lake Worth, anchored on the banks on the way toward Great Sale Cay to check in at Green Turtle Cay, and John accidentally fell off the boat and couldn't get back to it. It's a shame that someone came out to the boat the night after it was discovered and stole the two dinghy motors, but that was opportunists after hearing of the abandoned boat (after Dingo had been rescued). There's no sign of foul play. I'm still hoping for a happy ending, but it's not likely.
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Old 29-01-2012, 07:37   #44
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

How do people know that John fell off the boat???
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Old 29-01-2012, 08:34   #45
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Re: John Batchelor: Canadian Sailor Missing In Bahamas

That has been my question all along. I am not saying it is not possible, but how do they know. No on has yet to answer the quesitons regarding his laptop(s). And was the dog shut in the boat. John would typically have the boat open so that Dingo had the run of the place.
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