View Single Post
Old 27 October 2017, 10:35 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 26,575

Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
I don't understand what their problem(s) were. Cell phones don't work at sea anyway. They are on a sailboat and they don't need a working motor. (A motor is nice but 50' sailboats really aren't designed to travel long distances on their motors.) Even without any electronics they can still just sail in a particular direction and they'll hit land eventually.
There is. The first thing that happened was the mast spreader broke early on.

For those that don't know sailing, that's part of the standing rigging* that keeps the shrouds** in place to help prevent side loads from tearing the mast out of the ship. Without those, it would have been dangerous to sail close*** or even beam reach**** in a strong breeze. Sailing like that puts a great deal of side-strain on the mast as the force of the wind is trying to tip the vessel over. Sailing that way without the full system of rigging could have ripped the mast from the hull, potentially opening up a huge hole in it. That concern would have limited them to broad reach or running*****. Saling like that puts lesser strain on the boat and that strain is fore-aft, where (presumably) the backstay****** was still working. The trade winds******* around Hawaii tend to be from the east or north-east so running /reaching before the wind would limit them to heading in westerly directions. They were found about 950 miles south east of Japan, so it sounds like the headed in the safest direction and figured they'd hit land eventually.

* The cables and lines that are fixed in place. Pretty much like the diagonal guy wires for a telephone pole on the sea.
** The lines from the top of the mast to the sides of the ship.
*** When the wind is coming over the bow (front) of the ship.
**** When the wind is coming over the side (side) of the ship.
***** When the wind is coming over the stern (back) of the ship.
****** The rigging running from the mast to the stern (back) of the ship. Its job is to strengthen the mast in forward loads.
******* Winds on the oceans tend to be very consistent. When trade was carried by sailing ships, they relied upon these trade winds to keep on their routes.

ETA: tl;dr: IMBLO********, the strength of their mast was compromised because of previous damage and sailing west was the safest thing they could do.

******** Barely Learned
Reply With Quote