Sailing News: Whale Lands on Boat and Capsized Catamaran

Sailing News
As time permits, I plan to start sharing significant sailing news here on the Tahina site. This will be an infrequent occurrence, but I hope will prove interesting to those of you who are regular readers at least. Here are some recent news items of interest:

Whale Hits Sailboat

Whale breaches on top of sailboat, followed by aftermath

A sailboat in Cape Town, South Africa was observing whales when one breached several times in a row. Unfortunately, the whale’s last jump ended right on top of their boat! Fortunately, no one was hurt seriously – except the boat which was dismasted and basically destroyed. The boat did make it to safely to shore though. And the whale, while stunned momentarily, did not seem signficantly harmed. A nearby boat captured this amazing shot of the whale just before it hit the boat, followed by what the boat looked like afterwards. There is also a short, but not very stable, video clip from another boat which was just posted this weekend.

s/v Anna Capsized
We just got word yesterday that a 57 foot american-flagged catamaran called “Anna” was capsized (or “turtled”) west of Niue a couple of days ago. The New Zealand search and rescue (see details they’ve released) flew a plane over and confirmed the two crewmembers were still safely with the inverted boat and diverted a cargo vessel to their position. The cargo vessel successfully rescued the two crew a few hours later. There were stormy seas when it happened, but I’m am very curious to know more details. It should have taken extremely unusual circumstances for such a large catamaran to capsize. Normally it would require a freak wave, hurricane force winds, and/or unusual boat handling, to cause a cruising catamaran to capsize. Especially a boat this large. It may be the boat had unusual design characteristics or was somehow structurally damaged before the incident.

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5 Responses to Sailing News: Whale Lands on Boat and Capsized Catamaran

  1. Jeff Goff says:

    It was a Chris White Atlantic 57 built in Chile and only a few years old. I’d been wondering when one of this big cats would flip. Everyone assumes they are so safe since nothing like this has happened in a long while. It will be interesting to see the final details.

  2. It’s funny that you’re re-posting these. Your extended family and friends must be braver than mine. I always hope they don’t see this sort of news. They tend to worry, you know.

  3. Barbara from Vienna says:

    Hi Frank,
    Concerning your last post: we heard about the whale crash into the boat but also that the owners of the boat have been circling around that group of whales for too long and have entered a 300 (ft/m?) safety zone that a boat has to keep around a free living whale family … another website says, the whale wanted to make clear: keep away from my family …
    And the capsized cat … as you say that will be interesting as we also sail a cat, a 46ft fountain pajot.
    I am following all your blogs and fotos ! great job !
    best regards and as we say in Austria: always a hand full of beer in your glass (instead of “always have a hand full space below your keel) 😉

  4. Barbara says:

    its me again: here is the latest news about ANNA:
    The owner said that boat was sailing with single reefed main and full jib, upwind in 16-18kts. Squall that hit them didn’t look any different than any of the other many that had been in the area for 24 hrs. last wind speed seen was 62 kts. He was unable to get to the mainsheet in time to ease sails and wind just blew her over. No major waves involved.
    Located in Niue. Met crew today. They are safe and sound, some bruises but little else and remarkably good spirits.
    all the best
    Barbara from Vienna, Austria

  5. Russ Irwin says:

    From Sailing Anarchy:
    The Crew (two Men – Owner and friend) were rescued yesterday (Sunday Aug 1) from an overturned Atlantic 57 Catamaran named Anna. The were capsized under main and Jib when hit by a sudden squall while sailing from Tonga to Niue in order to assist with Whale Research on the island. The crew arrived Monday morning to Niue on the Container ship that rescued them after being dispatched by NZ Search and Rescue. Both crew are safe and sound, with little more than some small cuts and many bruises. I spoke to them this afternoon at the Niue Yacht Club about the incident.
    They were sailing under main and full jib in about 16 kntots of breeze and had had squalls for the last 24 hours in the area. The squall that hit them didn’t look any different than others and didn’t show up on radar any greater than others had. The wind came up rapidly and with a 90 degree wind shift that caught them off guard and capsized the boat before sheets could be eased. Daggerboards were reportedly lowered as the boat was sailing upwind. The highest wind seen on the instruments was 62kts. The set of their GPS enabled epirb and waited rescue in their dingy which floated free free of the boat upright having been stored on the aft deck for passage. After 12 hours they were rescued by a container ship making its scheduled trip from Tonga to Niue. The owner is originally from Texas, but is currently living in New Mexico.
    This is a very interesting case as this is the largest cruising catamaran to be capsized and appears to have done so with relatively non-remarkable conditions. There were no particularly large waves reported (3-4 meter seas were forecast and reported). The Atlantic 57 is designed by Chris White and built in South Africa as well as Newport RI. She is a relatively light weight catamaran with a displacement of about 26,500 lbs, similar in displacement/length as a Gunboat 66 so this is a light cat for cruising in, but no racing cat.

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