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SV Concordia Lost

February 27, 2010

This beautiful Square Rigger, the SV Concordia capsized off the coast of Brazil this week after being hit by a sudden tropical squall. Thankfully, everyone on board was rescued but the ship was lost. An Enquiry is under way.

It must take sometime to reef the sails on a Square Rigger so the Duty Officer would be aware of the need to anticipate a change in conditions to ensure the ship ‘remains on an even keel’. I can imagine the temptation of sailing with a full set up on a beautiful sunny day in the tropics, great if you can dodge the tropical showers emanating from under massive anvil headed cumulonimbus clouds. Problem is, these massive atmospheric beasts contain mini low pressure systems that draw air in from all directions so that directly underneath the cloud there is absolute pandemonium, no other word for it, with rain lashing down, waves and wind shifting one way or the other. Conditions change incredibly fast. It’s happened to numerous sailing ships over the centuries, it appears the SV Concordia was caught out.

We sometimes experience similar conditions in the Channel on hot, humid summers days in July or August. I always treat these areas of localised showers with respect, although they tend to be much weaker affairs than in the tropics. As the saying goes, if you’re thinking its time to reef, put one in! Don’t dilly dally. And if you think its time to shake it out, wait five minutes!

Here are a few links explaining what happened to the SV Concordia. What a relief everyone was saved.

Incident photo and diagram

Mailonline “I didn’t think we would be rescued”

Telegraph Teenager who survived two days

Times online British teenager feared she would die

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