IT WASN'T SO LONG AGO that liferaft survival-drift stories were fairly common. I personally know two people who spent more the 60 days in rafts (Steve Callahan and Bill Butler) and have read numerous accounts of similar experiences. Since the advent of reliable EPIRBs, however, it is now unusual for sailors abandoning yachts to spend more than a few hours adrift before getting picked up by someone. Hence all the fuss concerning Alain Delord, a 63-year-old French singlehander who was rescued from a raft 500 miles southwest of Tasmania late Sunday after spending three days adrift.
News & Views
SO WHAT do YOU think? Is that ugly box of a houseboat you see there--formerly the home of Fane Lozman, a wealthy South Florida software developer--worthy of the name "vessel"??? I'm guessing a large number of you will say such an abomination is an insult to the very concept of boat. Indeed, even as houses go, it is (or was) pretty damn ugly.
"The Supremes" (as we used to call them in law school) ruled on Tuesday that Lozman's home was not a "vessel" subject to federal admiralty jurisdiction because a) it had no rudder or steering; b) it had a rectangular hull; c) it could not generate or store electricity onboard; and d) it had a "nonmaritime" interior with windows and doors that were not watertight.
This sad bit of video, posted on YouTube by Yachting World just a few days ago, documents the last few moments of the life of Ciao, a Sweden Yacht 45 that sank in the Indian Ocean back in September during the current World ARC rally. Ciao and her owners, Srecko and Olga Pust of Slovenia, were en route from Indonesia to Cocos Keeling when the boat hit a USO (unidentified submerged object) about 40 miles short of her destination. Ciao's rudder was badly damaged and she quickly started taking on water.
It seems to safe to say that the 2012 North Atlantic tropical storm season has come to end, so I've been pawing through the sat pix I've collected trying to choose my favorite for the year. In terms of storm intensity, it was a rather poor season, so the pickings are a bit slim. Consequently, my number one choice isn't actually a satellite image. What you see up top, a pictorial rendering of the locations and intensities of all reported tropical storms and hurricanes since 1851, was published by John Nelson of IDV Solutions on his UXBlog on August 20.
It is quite beautiful, but also a bit counter-intuitive in its presentation, as the map is Antarctic-centric. To view the image full-size, you can check out John's original post, which offers numerous display options.
AS I NOTED in my last post on the loss of HMS Bounty during Hurricane Sandy, one of the big unanswered questions is: why was the ship taking on so much water? That she was leaking enough to sink is especially puzzling in that just 11 days earlier she'd been relaunched at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine (see photo up top) after spending a month in drydock for repairs. It may or may not be relevant, but my eyebrows did rise up a bit when I learned this week that the very same yard got dinged in federal court earlier this year for over $400K in damages for shoddy work performed on Shenandoah, a 108-foot schooner, back in 2008.
OH NO! (Not ANOTHER cruiser-got-busted story!) Just six months ago, Debbie Calitz, a South African sailor taken hostage by Somali pirates with her boyfriend off the coast of Tanzania, was finally released after 20 months in captivity. In little more than a week her book about her ordeal, 20 Months in Hostage Hell (see image up top), is scheduled to be released by Penguin Books. Right now, however, she's up to her eyeballs in legal trouble, as she, her two children, and six others were arrested in her Pretoria apartment last Friday for possession of marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
SAY WHAT??? Has my esteemed SAILfeed colleague, the mysterious Mariner, been spending too much time sniffing go-juice fumes? I eagerly dove into his post yesterday, in which he hailed and linked to "the first detailed journalistic account" of the loss of HMS Bounty, but was sorely disappointed by what I found. The account in question, currently bouncing around the Internet in various (often unattributed) iterations, was originally published by Spiegel Online and is barely coherent in places and doesn't even pretend to address some of the biggest questions raised by the tragedy.
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