The Beacon

Sailors Detour for Whales

You may have read about the around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race on our OCYC blog, but here's a first for the race: as the NYT reported, the seven remaining yachts had to make a detour to go around a whale sanctuary near Boston this weekend. The boats, which can reach 30 mph, sailed around the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the North Atlantic right whales that are feeding in the area. Due to the boats' speed, a collision with a whale can be disastrous for both parties -- the animal may be killed and crew members could be thrown into rigging (that's the sailing apparatus, for all you non-sailors). Marine mammal collisions are increasingly a problem. Several sailors in the recent Vendée Globe race sustained severe damage to their boats after hitting what they believed were marine mammals. And one sailor in the Artemis trans-Atlantic race last May had to abandon his boat after he reported striking a large sea mammal.


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