A Northern California whose 50-foot sailboat sank off the coast of western Mexico after colliding with a whale tells his story.
Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee/AP
A Northern California man whose sailboat sank off of western Mexico after a collision with awhale said Sunday that the impact was so powerful that the stern of the 22-ton vessel was lifted out of the water.
Max Young returned home to Sacramento on Friday, 10 days after the breaching whale slammed onto the bow of his 50-foot boat during a solo voyage.
Young, 67, was on the final leg of a journey from the East Coast to Emeryville, Calif., when the 55-foot-long whale hit the boat just after dark on June 12.
"The head of that whale would have had to have cleared at least 12 feet (from the water) before he came down on the boat," Young told The Associated Press on Sunday. "I could see its head. It must have been a young whale because he only had a few barnacles."
Young was not hurt in the collision, but the steep angle of the boat sent him sliding down the deck toward a pile of sea bags. He said he was only about 10 feet away from the whale at the time of impact.
Within a few seconds the whale slid back into the water, but not before causing severe damage to the sailboat and leaving behind evidence that it had been injured in the encounter.
"I saw a piece of rubbery type of material," he said. "It was skin from the whale."
But Young had other things to worry about. Water was gushing in through what he later discovered was a massive crack, the boat's steering was damaged and any possible help was hours away.