MESSAGES OF HOPE
From: "rory jackson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2001 21:21:45 +0100
Letter from Gérard d'ABOVILLE (French
rower of Atlantic and Pacific)
To whom it may concern, 2 October 2001
This morning I found mails from Roko Belic and from Jenifer Clark .Thanks for them.
I send you the following reflexions realizing how presumptuous it would be to be peremptory so please consider it as a very modest contribution.
Not knowing Mr Belic craft I do assume it is properly designed and built, that is to say :
1. self righting (on this question of self righting, looking on the plans I received during the night I must confess some doubts but, of course, lines are only a part of the question)
2. floats even if damaged
I do also assume that the EPIRB beacon is of a kind that cannot be switched on accidentally.
Also I think that whatever the care in installing them, all electrical equipment and electronics (radio, telephone, etc…) become extremely vulnerable into such a craft when conditions are really severe so the lack of communications should not be surprising.
This being :
one can believe that, encountering some sort of trouble, Mr Belic activated his beacon and, to be sure the signal would be received, made it fast outside his boat.
Due to extreme conditions he may have failed to tie the beacon or the line did break.
It is then reasonable to expect Mr Belic still being into his boat, requiring assistance, unable to communicate, drifting.
I do agree that drift can be very important for such a boat empty of water or mostly empty of water (presumed on board, Mr Belic is obviously using all his energy to bail out his boat).
Not knowing winds since the beacon was activated I would not try to estimate an area of position but Il would say, as very approximate estimation.
10 to 20 nautical miles for average of 10 knots wind during 24 hours
20 to 30 nautical miles for average of 20 knots wind during 24 hours
30 to 45 nautical miles for average of 30 knots wind during 24 hours
45 to 65 for average of 40 knots and above
surface current is mostly created by the last 24 hours wind so I considered it in the preceding figures, but a North going influence may be experienced approaching the continent (it is so around French Brittany) this has to be checked with local fishermen or coast guards.
if a sea anchor is properly used in bad weather his purpose will be to keep the boat in line with the sea, not to slow it considerably and the drift will be only reduced of may be 10 to 15 % (if not so something would break : cleat, sea anchor, line, …).
except on a very calm sea it is extremely difficult to find such a small boat if one do not have an accurate position. That is not to say everything should no be tempted to find Mr Belic, but that is to say one should not be surprised he has not been located yet.
Letter from Tori Murden (American rower of Atlantic)
Date: 10/2/01 11:53:52 AM Pacific Daylight Time
I feel very strongly that the Coast Guard is searching too far to the west. There were days I traveled 90+ nautical miles without taking a single rowing stroke. Assuming his sea anchor broke off in the storm, Dr. Belic's boat is likely to travel two or three times more quickly than his EPIRB. (I assume no sea anchor because I had sea-anchors with two-inch sling webbing tear like rotten shoe strings, when hurricane Danielle passed me. Also if he is injured and knows it is an on-shore the wind, he may deliberately take-in the anchor to make better progress toward Ireland.) While this is not a sailboat it is a very light vessel and the wind will push it much faster than something submerged. Even if Dr. Belic's boat has taken on water it would still move more quickly than and EPIRB or a life raft (his boat does not have water baffles to slow it down).
The Coast Guard is terrific. They have my undying respect and deepest appreciation for what they do and the amazing rescues they undertake. The difficulty is that Dr. Belic's boat is more like a lifeboat off the Titanic than anything else on the modern ocean. Without an engine or sailing rig, there will be little or no radar echo. (Commercial ships passed next to me and told me that I did not show up on their radar -- even with two radar reflectors.) A disabled motor vessel is very heavy and will not travel fast. A disabled sailboat might move faster, but unless it has sails up, it would be no match for a floating rowboat like Dr. Belic's.
The wave action will have some affect on a rowboat's course, but very little. His boat will track with the wind. With a 20-25 knot wind, no current and no rowing, my boat averaged 4-5 knots. We should assume Dr. Belic's boat has some water in it, so it may move more slowly, but it should still be farther east than the Coast Guard's search grid.
"LUN"-BUILDER STEVE NAJJAR'S DESCRIPTION OF BOAT'S CONSTRUCTION
Steve Najjar, Boatbuilder
639 Bair Island Rd. # 108
Redwood City, CA 94063
650 366-3263 (shop)
650 856-6209 (home)
650 856-8927 (fax)
October 3, 2001
To whom it may concern:
On behalf of the Belic family, I’ve been asked to write a
letter outlining construction details of the vessel LUN,
which, with its skipper, Nenad Belic, is currently lost at
sea off the Irish coast.
Briefly, the boat is 21’ long, and 5’2” wide. It is
approximately 3’ from the keelson to the deck amidships’.
The hull, which is cold molded, is constructed over a web
frame, consisting of a series of longitudinal stringers,
and four permanent “ring frames”. The stringers are 1x1”
Alaskan Yellow Cedar, spaced approximately 6” apart, all
around the hull and deck. The inside keelson is 1x4”. The
sheer clamp, and all framing around the hatches, the canopy
opening, and the oar ports, are approximately 1x2.5”. There
is a matching external sheer clamp, of Honduras Mahogany.
Also, there is a 4” external keel along the bottom of the
hull, to aid in tracking.
The cold molded hull consists of three layers of 1/8”
Western Red Cedar, each layer diagonally cross-laminated on
top of the web frame, and the preceding layer. The three
layers of planking are fully epoxied together. The entire
hull and deck is sheathed with 6 oz fiberglass cloth, also
liberally impregnated with epoxy. Because the boat is
fully-enclosed, the shape is not unlike a cigar.
The original design called for 1/2 x 1” strip planks, edge
glued together, and similarly sheathed with epoxy, with the
four permanent ring frames, but with no internal web frame.
I am fully confident that the cross-laminated nature of the
cold molding method resulted in a MUCH stronger vessel.
Inside the hull are storage bins running the length of the
boat, aiding the structure, and helping to keep stored
weight low down in the boat.
The canopy, which sits atop the deck, is approximately 5’
long, 28” wide, and 12” high. It is constructed of
aircraft? aluminum, with Lexan windows. The top of the
canopy is 1/2” BS-1088 plywood, also sheathed with 6 oz
There are three Bomar hatches on the boat -- one at each
end, and one on top of the canopy. Also, there are four
solar panels on the deck.
All wood to wood interfaces are thoroughly epoxied together
using WEST System Epoxy. All wood to metal interfaces are
through-bolted with 1/4x20 S.S. bolts, lock washers and/or
“nylock” nuts. All mating surfaces are liberally coated
with 3M 5200 Adhesive Sealant.
Please be assured that no expense -- and no effort -- was
spared in the construction of the LUN. I am confident that
the boat exceeds its design strength, and is fully capable
of what it was intended to do
-- to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
I must plead with the powers that be. I am heartened by the
fact that no debris has been sighted. The boat, and Dr.
Belic, are still out there. Please DO NOT discontinue the
search. And please DO NOT waste a moment of daylight.
Every effort must be made to bring Dr. Belic to safety.