Getting hit or hitting something while sailing

Posted By on June 29, 2017

One of the fears when sailing long distances across oceans is either getting hit or hitting something. Numerous stories have been told by those who survive hitting “something” … and who knows how many are never told? My phobia is striking a partially submerged shipping container, debris or log with our fiberglass boat on a passage in the middle of the night. Other sailors spend thousand of dollars on AIS, radar and deflectors in hope to be seen and avoid a collision with a ship — ie. USS Fitzgerald recent yet avoidable accident. 

A lessor worry but still realistic possibility is a whale (photo above or animated gif below) or other marine mammal or fish.

Kito de Pavant and his Bastide Otio hit an unidentified floating object. The damage was fatal for the boat and the skipper was forced to abandon the race and his monohull. .. When the videos recorded on the hard disk aboard the boat become available, it was discovered that the unidentified object was in fact a sperm whale, which was clearly visible in the wake of the boat.


striking a sperm whale


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.