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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another Boat Mystery . . . or Maybe Not.

Click here for the full story from courant.com.

The above boat was photographed after being towed back from somewhere between SW Shoal and Six Mile Reef in Long Island Sound. A private company brought it in using lift bags to right it. Apparently, the boat flipped over at some point during the day. Wind and seas were calm that day . . . there were no special weather advisories in effect.

One of the two people on the boat, the captain, is still missing. The second person, a woman, was found yesterday. No foul play is suspected.

Tragic story about two people, a man and woman, who were great friends and loved to fish.

Boat is 19' long. It had been modified with a wheelhouse, windshield and trunk cabin and some are suggesting the modification made the boat unstable and bow heavy. Too much weight in the bow of a vessel tends to make it squirrelly and unpredictable underway.

However, the boat was found with it's anchor out. It's not known if the anchor was deliberately set before the vessel capsized or if the anchor deployed accidentally when the capsize occured.

In the photo above the boat looks a tad bow down, but not enough to say it's bow heavy. Many vessels of this type will idle at a slow bell with their bows down slightly; it doesn't necessarily mean they're bow heavy.

This story recalls the tragic incident in New York when a modified Dyer passenger boat on a lake boating cruise (its deck and cabin had been raised) capsized with fatal consequences for a group of seniors.

It's too early to tell if the vessel flipped because it was overly "tender" due to the modification or if a freak wave pooped the boat. There is enough tide in this area of the Sound that if it ran counter to a rogue wave or wake . . . it could spell trouble for a small boat at anchor with its stern facing the approaching wave.

One thing can be certain: Any structural after-market modification to a vessel's original concept has untested and potentially dangerous consequences.

My sympathies to the families.

-seabgb

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