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Old 30-05-2012, 16:39   #1
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Whale collision averted caught on tape

Browsing the usual death and destruction news on bbc and found this little jem

BBC News - Yacht team avoid collision with whale Might not work for those outside of the UK though I'm sure video will be out there already on other sites.

The crew on the New Zealand yacht in the Volvo Ocean race narrowly escaped a high-speed collision with a whale during the seventh leg of the event.

The helmsman for Team New Zealand, Spaniard Roberto Bermudez, managed to turn out of the path of the mammal while the vessel was travelling at 20 knots.

The team were racing from Miami to Lisbon when the incident happened.
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Old 30-05-2012, 16:51   #2
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

A watchful eye. Well done helmsman.
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Old 30-05-2012, 17:08   #3
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

Imagine someone driving a F1 car thru the middle of your house.

Bloody sailors.

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Old 30-05-2012, 17:21   #4
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

A J-120 was sunk in 2009 during the Baja Ha-Ha Rally in a similar situation. The boat ran right over the top of the whale at about 12-14 knots and the rudder was pulled back like a can opener. The vessel sunk in about 20 minutes... All were recovered, with a sprained wrist being the only injury.

We spent 18 months in Mexico and had three near misses with Humpbacks, who for some reason like to J-Walk...

During that same time frame, three other sail boats received various damages from collisions with whales. Mostly prop and rudder damages, but no sinkings.

One of those boats was actually rammed by a Humpback... Assumptions were she perceived the sailboat was a danger to her calf.
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Old 30-05-2012, 17:32   #5
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

The threat from whales is something that interests me be it accidental strike or a whale going out of its way to ram you. I'm sure the threat is no higher than anything else such as containers, getting run down by a tanker etc in the scheme of things but I read a lot about them, from what I've seen sailing routes are pretty close to migratory or breeding grounds so the chance of running into a few on those routes is always there and an angry mama can do you damage. Of course as the non boat owning novice I am, I could be talking mince.
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Old 30-05-2012, 17:57   #6
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

Pretty good helming there! We had our own encounter in 2008 -- we weren't going as fast as the Volvo racer, but we saw two whales and one one got close enough to slap us with its flukes. Video here:
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Old 30-05-2012, 18:05   #7
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

I had that same thing happen when heading south from Guadeloupe. Off the Saintes, a small whale (~20 ft) surfaced just off my port bow, heading across the bow. Luckily, since I like to helm versus rely on the autopilot, I was able to throw the wheel over and miss it by a couple of feet.

I looked back, and saw the whale surface and look at my boat. It started back after me. Did it think the boat was it's mother? It chased me for a while, then gave up.
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Old 30-05-2012, 18:37   #8
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

I've had a close head on call with an Orca. I saw him way ahead and then lost track. He passed so close on my stbd side that if I wasnt so surprised, I might have touched his dorsal! Sometimes I think whales have an autopilot mode... they are just cruising in straight line and cat napping. Then other times they seem intent on interacting for sure...
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Old 30-05-2012, 18:38   #9
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

I couldn't view the Volvo Ocean Race Leg.
But I've always been a bit confused about these close encounters. whales can turn on a dime, I have seen them do amazing acrobats. I wonder, maybe they are just riding close alongside, wanting to rub up against the hull. Or maybe they are bumping to warn the vessel off. I don't think these incidents are accidents. I can see accidentally hitting a sleeping whale, but an awake whale can easily avoid us no matter our speed or course.
These are smart animals who may be forming opinions of us as a whole, and acting on it.

Just my 2cents,
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Old 30-05-2012, 18:58   #10
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

What is the idea behind NOT having a dam with rudders of this type?

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Old 30-05-2012, 19:08   #11
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

BTW seen a big alloy mono that collided with one going at about 10 knots. Stock bent. They needed a tow.

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Old 30-05-2012, 19:13   #12
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
What is the idea behind NOT having a dam with rudders of this type?

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a dam?
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Old 30-05-2012, 19:32   #13
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
a dam?
A half-bulkhead - coffer type - not all the way up to the deck but enough to keep the water confined should the rudder get snapped off.

I was in the back of a Bavaria recently and it did not have one either! I thought Js have them ...

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Old 30-05-2012, 19:40   #14
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

Collision compartment.
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Old 30-05-2012, 19:51   #15
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Re: Whale collision averted caught on tape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
I couldn't view the Volvo Ocean Race Leg.
But I've always been a bit confused about these close encounters. whales can turn on a dime, I have seen them do amazing acrobats. I wonder, maybe they are just riding close alongside, wanting to rub up against the hull. Or maybe they are bumping to warn the vessel off. I don't think these incidents are accidents. I can see accidentally hitting a sleeping whale, but an awake whale can easily avoid us no matter our speed or course.
These are smart animals who may be forming opinions of us as a whole, and acting on it.

Just my 2cents,
Ocean Girl
In the Gulf of California, in the days when they were being hunted, Gray Whales were known as devil-fish so voracious were their attacks on ships. They were there to bear their young and understood they needed to sink the hunters boats if they were going to succeed. Now when people go to the same areas the Gray's will come up to the boats to interact and allow people to stroke them and will sometimes raise one of their great eyes out of the water to have a good look at the visitors.
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