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Basic Physics and the Abby Sunderland Sailing Expedition

Since I wrote the post, "Abby" has made a statement that she left the mast and sail attached to stabilize the boat and stop it from rolling over.

Even though the Southern Hemisphere is down under, physics works the same way. If you lower the centre of gravity on a boat by removing the mast, the keel stabilizes the vessel to such an extent it is almost impossible to tip over, all the leverage and weight aloft is gone.

If you allow the mast and sail to drag in the water you increase the chances of a catastrophic incident, either the mast, spars or fittings can puncture the hull or the weight of water in the sail can stop the boat's reaction to waves and can sink the vessel. Abby's statement again raises the question of her instruction in survival techniques.

I followed Abby's blog from the beginning, and I am dubious about the origin of many of the postings. The change in grammar, punctuation and clarity can be explained by some of the postings being written after phone calls from Abby when her computer system was down. But other postings are more problematic. An example is asking readers to buy her T-shirts so she could pay for her satellite phone usage ( Abby's blog June 4th), a little weird coming from someone battling storms in the Indian Ocean. It all looks to be so orchestrated by her father, she is not just his daughter, she is part of his franchise.


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