posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 09:36 PM
Not to rain on any theories, but as a sailor myself, I can tell you that once a single-handed skipper is overboard, things go from bad to worse in a
If he was any kind of sailor he likely had reefer furlings and line cleats holding most of his rigging, perhaps even an autopilot engaged. If that is
the case, once he falls over, he's a dead man, especially if he wasn't wearing a life preserver or flotation jacket. Regardless, the sailboat
simply sails on it's fixed heading without him. It gets worse;
With no pilot steering, the tiller or wheel that controls the rudder is at the mercy of currents and swells, which, even in relatively calm seas,
would begin a dangerous oscillation and soon be overwhelmed as it fights wind and seas to maintain course. The sailor would obviously continuously
make any needed corrections to compensate for waves, swells, and wind gusts that are encountered and are trying to 'fight' the vessel.
With such opposing dynamics at play, again even in relatively calm seas, only a slight swell or wave set would be enough to tack the boat dangerously
low to the waterline. It would only be a matter of time that the coincidence of a second swell meets a the banked sailboat, flooding and capsizing
If the sailor release all his lines, turned off the autopilot, neutralized his rudder, possibly even furled his sails, THEN there would be a great
chance that the boat would continue bobbing and drifting in the water to be spotted.
I'm assuming that the sailor, if he indeed fell overboard, he did so while "under sail' and 'into the wind', which would be disastrous for him
and likely for his sailboat as well.
I'm not by any means saying this is what happened - I have no way of knowing. In fact, even if the vessel continued on its course for another
hundred miles before capsizing, it wouldn't take everything down with it, there would likely be a few bits of jetsam/flotsam debris floating nearby.
Of course, spotting a few pieces of debris on the surface from the air with no vessel or raft in sight would be very difficult indeed.
Nevertheless, I admit this outcome is much more boring than being abducted by aliens in a UFO while at sea - vessel and all. So, disregard this
completely if you wish and continue with that line of thinking - it's certainly more exciting (although our poor 'ole salt of a sailor may
As it is, compared with my scenario, perhaps an alien abduction would be preferable - he'd at least still be alive...