Coincidentally, the day after we published a story on spade rudders we heard of yet another boat that was attacked and sunk by orcas near the Strait of Gibraltar. A Polish Jeanneau 449, Grazie Mamma II, was sailing off the coast of Morocco when the crew reported a pod of orcas attacking it for 45 minutes before the boat started leaking and eventually sank. This continuation of behavior appears to be unique to the area and has resulted in about 500 encounters between orcas and yachts. The New York Times reported this is the fourth yacht sunk by orcas in the area.
In Nicki Bennett’s podcast with Ronnie Simpson this week, he also said one of the competitors in the Global Solo Challenge had their rudder damaged by orcas as they made their way from Gibraltar to the start in A Coruña. Amazingly, a race boat did catch the orcas on video in the act of attacking their rudder this past summer.
Are these orcas just playing around? The behavior remains unexplained and, thankfully, does not appear to be spreading beyond the area around Gibraltar.