I have to say, I really dig Matt Rutherford's new ride (pictured above). It looks to be a Colvin Gazelle, a boat I've always admired, but with an unstayed cat ketch rig. Very interesting. But that's not what we need to discuss right now. You may have noticed, per a recent post by my SAILfeed compadre Andy Schell, that Matt, who has been voyaging about the middle of the Atlantic as part of his new Ocean Research Project, recently came across and actually tried to salvage that Swan 48, Wolfhound, that I have written so much about recently.
I urge you to carefully study the full account, either in Andy's post, or on Matt's site, of everything Matt did in trying to tow Wolfhound over 700 miles to Bermuda. It gives you a very good sense of the incredible determination and tenacity that enabled him to sail singlehanded non-stop around North and South America in a tiny little Albin Vega. You should note in particular that during the attempt Matt lost one of his own house batteries overboard (it almost dragged him down to the bottom along with it) and rendered his own engine inoperable.
News & Views
I don't have any info on when and where this happened, but I'm guessing somewhere in Europe. The boat is a Hallberg-Rassy, I can see that. Whoever is driving is... optimistic, to put it nicely. Afterwards I'm sure he was saying, "Oh, well. We needed a new mast anyway."
What really blows me away is that the boat following after the first one seems to be gunning just as hard to make it through the closing bridge. Only after he sees the disaster unfolding before him does it occur to him to turn away.
This is a swell bit of videography if you're into classic racing yachts. The famous Olin Stephens-designed yawl Dorade actually won the TransPac way back in 1936 and set a course record that stood for some time. Her current owner, Matt Brooks, is determined to run her as an ocean-racer again and is particularly interested in campaigning her in events that she has sailed in before. Right now she's in the midst of racing to Honolulu in this year's TransPac and is doing remarkably well, particularly given her age, 83, which makes her the oldest boat ever to compete in the event.
I went out on Lunacy on my own on Monday afternoon and sailed up to Lower Goose Island, just across Middle Bay from Harpswell Neck. There's a cozy-looking anchorage here, just north of two ancillary islets called the Goslings, that I've spied from a distance but have never actually visited before. According to my copy of Taft and Rindlaub's Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast, this spot is popular on weekends, but empty during the week, so I was looking forward to some solitude. But no. By the time I got there, it was already filled with boats with out-of-state plates--Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey--a good mix of sail and power.
The Lunacy Report
I've been posting a bit lately about abandoned boats, and my SAILfeed colleague Clark Beek has rightly pointed out that it is high time I bloviated on the subject of salvage rights. Many people believe that if you find an abandoned boat it automatically belongs to you, and yes, I intentionally played into and exploited that popular misconception in the title of my first post on Wolfhound, the abandoned Swan 48 now adrift 600 miles east of Bermuda. But in fact the law isn't that simple.
Salvage law is very old and dates back to medieval times, when men went to sea primarily to engage in commerce. A vessel in trouble often carried cargo worth as much or more than the ship itself, and the men attracted by her distress were just as likely to plunder her as to save her. Thus the core principle of salvage law has always been that honest men who risk their own lives and vessels trying to save other vessels should be very well rewarded.
Techniques & Tactics
Here's a nice demolition-derby video: a cement-carrying freighter named Cyprus Cement (creative name that) lost control of itself and wiped out 10 to 15 recreational vessels (none of them sailboats, fortunately) in the Levanger marina in Trondheim, Norway, earlier this week. Word has it this was the result of a bow-thruster failure, though you'll note the freighter does have a tugboat strapped uselessly to its side.
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