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It took “only” 8 days to get from Azores to Portugal.  Overall, it was a pleasant sail  But I was a little bit concerned about all the reports of Orcas attacking sailboats and destroying their rudders.

These incidents started to be reported in July 2020 and intensified exponentially since then.  From June to mid-July 2021 there were 53 reported incidents.

Initially, these attacks happened west of the Gibraltar strait, but lately the pod of orcas attacked a boat near Cartagena.  So it is happening in the Mediterranean sea as well.

Orca Attack

There are many videos on YouTube of Orcas attacking sailboats, spinning them 360 degrees and destroying their rudder.  A sailboat without a rudder is extremely difficult to control, especially in areas where the commercial shipping cargos traffic is intense.  So the safety of the vessel and the life of its crew are in danger.

Luckily for us, we didn’t encounter any Orca.  But some friends of ours who crossed on the same route a few weeks later did.  And their rudder was destroyed.

Scientists are still researching this strange behavior, and they don’t have an answer as why this is happening. They come out with a useless “safety protocol” that involves dropping all sails and shut off the autopilot and the engine.  And pray.

No one has used this protocol successfully so far.  But some sailors reported that after dropping the sails and motoring on reverse on a downwind course, made the Orcas go away.

Here is a video of an attack to a catamaran:

Quite scary uh?  I am not looking forward to cross the Gibraltar straight again

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