Doug Bright of Perth, WA AUS asks:
First of all, congratulations and thank you for all your work to date - I appreciate it is hard responding to a host of queries in your daily routine of just running the ship.
I know you have already been asked about flotsam, but to expand on that, after sailing a few boats up and down the Queensland Coast, my one terror, especially at night, is seatainers; they are big, heavy, immovable and often 90% submerged, and have real sharp corners that could do serious damage to a glass hull at 8 knots. I doubt they'd show up on radar unless it was set so low that all you would get is wave scatter anyway, and you possibly would lose the big ships you are looking for too. Have you seen many seatainers in your travels? I imagine the rougher patches of water would feature more of them, as they get washed overboard from the ships in storms. As a second and only partly related question, do you carry a firearm on board? Obviously, depending on type, they can be used in a variety of circumstances, from defense to knocking off the odd angry shark that tangles up your lines; but one use we put ours to in Queensland was the sinking of seatainers - they don't sink fast but introducing any sort of below water perforation in them will hasten their sinking and make the oceans safer for us all.
Thanks and all the best,
Scott Flanders of Egret responds:
Doug, we have never seen a container (seatainer) offshore. I have never
personally read about anyone striking one but I'm sure someone has. You are
right in saying if they are floating at sea level in rough weather they
probably wouldn't give a consistent radar return. If they were sticking up
a bit they well may give you a return, particularly in calmer weather. Even
if you were to hit one in a Nordhavn (Nords are built in two piece molds so
the centerline is quite thick fiberglass vs. one piece mold construction)
unless you struck the stem on a sharp edge there is a good chance you would
ride up on top of it particularly in rough seas. I would imagine if in the
worst case scenario you were to hit the sharp edge directly it would be BAD.
We don't carry firearms aboard Egret other than a flare gun. This is simply
our personal choice. As far as theft there is nothing we have on board
worth another person's life. I have fished all my life and never had a
shark hit a trolled bait but perhaps they may in Queensland. If we brought
a shark to the transom from bottom fishing we would cut it off.
In our home state of Florida statistically there is a FAR greater chance of
being killed on I-95 (a major N/S highway) than ALL long distance cruisers,
power or sail in ANY situation. Don't ever let 'what ifs' keep you from
going offshore. You have no idea what you are missing.