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    Re: The mystery of the Queensland version of the Marie Celeste.
    From: Bill B
    Date: 2007 May 05, 18:21 -0400

    > Gary wrote:
    > Certainly plausable. I also have a personal anecdote. While sailing in the
    > Bahamas many years ago we managed to go aground on a sand bar 4 miles east of
    > Treasure Cay in, according the chart, 7 feet of water. It was overcast and
    > just as the sun came out illuminating the water around us as a light green we
    > came to a gentle stop. I sent some of the crew overboard ( we had 7 people)
    > and they walked around the boat in about 4 and a half feet. They discovered
    > that the deepest water was the way we came in. With most of the crew overboard
    > to lighten the boat and to push we kedged off without trouble. But, I stayed
    > aboard to run the engine with some others to handle lines. You would think if
    > that cat went aground that someone would have stayed aboard to run the engines
    > too.
    Exactly.  The article is IMHO a joke (and in poor taste), especially if they
    were at all experienced.
    GPS failure so they couldn't navigate?  Got a compass?
    "When coastal authorities found the catamaran three days later, all the
    safety gear was intact, the anchor was up and a small boat was still hoisted
    on the back of the boat."
    So apparently no attempt to row out, drop an anchor and kedge off using a
    winch and the motor.  And if they went in the water to lighten the boat or
    push her off, apparently no flotation devices.  Wouldn't one man stay
    onboard to put the motor in reverse to assist as Gary suggests?
    It makes no sense to me.
    As to the anecdote of how fast a boat moves, it should come as no surprise.
    In drivers education in the USA we were taught at 60 mph you are moving at
    88 feet per second.  At 6 mph (5.2 kt) that is 8.8 feet per second.  Which
    may not sound like much until you try to swim that fast (especially in a
    life jacket) plus close up the gap created between when you went overboard,
    got your bearings, and started to swim.
    As a dinghy racer (no knot meter) and cruiser, I like to play with my speed
    by noting how long a floating object takes in seconds to move from the bow
    to the transom.
    The formula is simple:
    (Boat length / seconds to pass) x 0.59 = speed in knots
    The 0.59 constant converts feet per second to knots:
    (60 seconds/minute x 60 minutes/hr) / 6076.1 feet/nautical mile.
    So it is easy to derive a constant for your boat.  A 35'craft  would be 35 x
    .59 = 20.7.  Divide that by seconds for an object to move from bow to
    transom and there is your speed.
    If you do this sometime, and note it takes only 3 seconds to move the 35'
    from bow to transom at 6.9 kt, you get a good feel for the sobering reality.
    I feel we lose perspective on a relatively featureless body of water.  At 1
    kt we feel we are barely moving.  1 kt when coming into a slip sure seems a
    lot faster!
    Last but not least the headline, "Cruel sea refuses to give up its secrets."
    Ok, we'll ascribe human traits to bodies of water.  The seas provide food,
    transportation using nothing but wind, and so much more.  They obey the laws
    of physics and follow the sun and moon around like a faithful puppy.  Only
    when Mother Earth kicks them in the underbelly, or Mother Nature whips up a
    storm do they become "Angry Seas."  (Rages aside.) Or if we insert ourselves
    into the food chain and become the hunted instead of the hunter. But
    Whenever I go sailing, white-water canoeing or rafting, I am going out to
    dance with Mother Nature.  When she is in a good mood it is easy to become
    seduced by her beauty and forget her power. On a good day it's pure delight,
    on a bad day I always remember I can never beat her; be *very* respectful
    and I might survive to dance another day.
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