Tuesday, June 27, 2023


27 June 2023: With the recent tragedy of the loss of the experimental "tourist" submersible and it's 5 passengers this past weekend, we thought a story regarding a successful submarine story-well, mostly successful- would be appropriate. Hopefully not in bad taste! From Live Science:



Top-secret special-ops submarine from World War II discovered after 20-year search

A veteran Greek diver announced that he'd discovered the wreck of HMS Triumph after searching for more than 20 years.

The wreck of a British World War II submarine that helped usher in the era of special military operations has been found off the coast of Greece, where it sank in 1942.

Veteran Greek diver Kostas Thoctarides announced in a Facebook post last week that his team had discovered the wreck of HMS Triumph in the Aegean Sea, at an undisclosed location "ten of kilometers" off Cape Sounion and at a depth of about 666 feet (203 meters.) 

The wreck's closed hatches and retracted periscope indicate that the sub was diving when it sank, Thoctarides said.


HMS Triumph launched in 1938 and completed more than 20 missions during WWII, including attacks on Axis ships and submarines in the Mediterranean Sea. But the vessel is best known for its roles in covert operations, including the rescue of several Allied soldiers trapped in North Africa and an infiltration into Greece — then enemy territory — of British intelligence officers to help the resistance there.

Among other missions, in 1941, the submarine carried Capt. Bill Hudson, an officer with the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in secret to the Axis-held Serbian port of Petrovac, on the Adriatic Coast, to aid Yugoslav partisans — one of the first SOE missions and a forerunner of all special military operations since.

Thoctarides and his team have been searching for the Triumph wreck for more than 20 years. "The story of Triumph is complex and unique in naval history and is inextricably linked to the Greek resistance and the secret services that operated during the days of the Italian-German occupation," Giatropoulou said. 

They'd already located the wrecks of four submarines — including HMS Perseus in 1997 — but finding HMS Triumph was "extremely difficult," she said. "Most of the time was in bad weather and with very strong underwater currents."

wreck with detail of findings

 One of the keys to success was using a remotely-operated underwater vehicle, or ROV: "At a depth of 203 meters and with such strong currents, divers cannot work," she said. 

According to naval records, Triumph secretly sailed into Despotikos Bay, off an island near Antiparos in the Cyclades, in December 1941. 

On Dec. 30, the sub sent an encrypted message reporting that it had dropped off a British military intelligence team, and it was then scheduled to rescue more than 30 British escapees from nearby Antiparos on Jan. 9.

But the Triumph never showed, and the escapees were arrested. On Jan. 23, 1942, the Royal Navy listed the submarine as missing at sea, with 64 crew on board. 

It seems the crew died in the sinking. "My opinion is that all 64 heroes are in the submarine, as they were in a deep dive and all hatches are closed," Giatropoulou said. "HMS Triumph must be treated with the respect and sanctity it deserves as a maritime war grave."

Likewise, it's important to notify the families of the lost crew, said Timmy Gambin, a maritime archaeologist at the University of Malta who wasn't involved in the Triumph search but led the discovery of the wreck of HMS Urge, a British WWII submarine that sank off the coast of Malta. 

"With the thousands of ships lost in WW2 come a multitude of human stories — not just of the victims but more so about those who were left behind," Gambin told Live Science in an email. 


 And with that, we offer condolences to the families of those who perished in the recent disaster. At least it was quick (32 milliseconds). But as the maritime archeologist quoted above mentions, it's about those left behind. 

Until next time,

                                          Fair Winds,

                                                   Old Salt

Tuesday, June 13, 2023


 13 June 2023: Mid June folks! Where does the time go?! Seems like only yesterday we had cold weather and no sight of Spring. Now, with Memorial Day in the wake, summer's begun and boats once again ply the local waters and stupid boat people continue to amaze with their lack of skills! More on that another time. Today, we bring you, from an unlikely source - Boatlopnik - (don't ask!) a somewhat disconcerting story of the total disregard some nations have for the war dead of other countries.


Chinese Ship Accused Of Looting British WW2 Shipwrecks

Malaysian authorities believe they found cannon shells from HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse

Low-background metal, material produced before the detonation of nuclear bombs in the 1940s, is highly valued for medical and scientific purposes. The clear constraints mean that low-background metal can’t be created. The material must be taken from existing items, and scavengers have controversial and illegal lengths to acquire it. Recently. a Chinese ship has been detained for allegedly salvaging metal from World War II-era British shipwrecks designated as war graves.

Chuan Hong 68

BBC News reports Malaysian maritime police have detained the Chinese bulk carrier Chuan Hong 68. According to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, authorities found cannon shells from HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse aboard the vessel. The Royal Navy ships were sunk in battle with the Imperial Japanese Navy off the coast of Malaysia in the South China Sea in December 1941, just three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The engagement and sinkings killed 842 sailors.

The Chuan Hong 68 had been operating in Malaysian waters over the past year on a license to salvage a Chinese vessel. However, Prince of Wales and Repulse has been targeted by scrap dealers over the past decade. Local fishermen alerted authorities to activity around the war graves. A British Ministry of Defence spokesperson told the BBC, “ Where we have evidence of desecration of the wrecks of Royal Navy vessels, we will take appropriate action, including working with regional governments and partners to prevent inappropriate activity at such sites.”

The value of low-background metal has dropped as background nuclear radiation has faded to near-natural levels in the decades since the end of large-scale nuclear weapons testing. However, the added value is worth the risk for many.


 In the event the British take further action here, we will advise our followers. While this happened in the past, the scavenging of sunken ships - both from the world wars and before - the recent past has noticed a pause in this criminal activity. We hope the British come down with both feet on this scandal.

Until next time,

                                        Fair Winds,

                                                Old Salt

Saturday, June 3, 2023


 3 June 2023:

June already and Memorial Day weekend  (popular start of Summer) in the wake. Wow! Before we know it will be autumn and getting cold again! 

It was just shy of a year ago (22 June if you wish to check!) that we wrote about a potentially mad Englishman who was set to sail across the Atlantic in a 1 meter boat to break the previous record of crossing in a slightly smaller than 2 meter boat (It was about 5' long). Well, there is an update and (spoiler alert) it did not end well as many of you anticipated! From the Practical Boat Owner:


The Big C Atlantic Challenge was a lifelong dream for skipper Andrew Bedwell.

Now that dream lies in pieces – as does his 1m/3.2ft long boat, Big C.

The vessel was being lifted out of the water in St Johns, Newfoundland when it fell onto the harbour side.

Andrew Bedwell started the Big C Atlantic Challenge two days ago, but decided to return to harbour for safety reasons after noticing water ingress into the boat. He had made some modifications to Big C just prior to leaving.


“We got back to the harbour and the boat basically sunk, because she was full of water and we had to lift her out by her framework rather than putting straps underneath the boat. We lifted her up, got her up to the harbour wall and the framework gave way and she dropped down onto the harbour side and basically it has destroyed the boat,” explained an emotional Andrew.

“And I don’t know what to say to everyone who has supported me and helped me. You have all been absolutely amazing, but Big C is no more. She can’t carry on. I can’t do it. I am sorry.”

Big C was originally built by micro-yachting legend, Tom McNally, who in 1993, set the record for the smallest boat to cross the Atlantic. He completed the record in his 5ft 4.5 inch boat, Vera Hugh.

Tom built Big C with the aim of re-taking the title from American Hugo Vihlen, who beat Tom’s record after he sailed a 5ft 4inch boat across the Atlantic.

Sadly, Tom died from cancer in 2017, without having regained the record.

Andrew Bedwell, who has his own boat repair business, approached Tom’s family who allowed him to modify Big C for his own record attempt, which, if successful, would have seen him sailing 1,900 miles from St Johns, Newfoundland to the finish off Lizard Point, Cornwall.

Big C was built out of GRP with a foam core. Andrew made the boat smaller for his challenge, and carried out extensive sea trials ahead of his record attempt.

Checking listings for something bigger?

It had 12 watertight compartments and vents which could open and close. The boat’s keel could hold 5 litres of drinking water and had a manual watermaker to refill the tank. She had twin rudders (in case one broke) dual furling headsails, outriggers and an A frame mast.

Andrew, who is from Scarisbrick, Lancashire, has spent years sailing small boats, finishing the Jester Baltimore Challenge in 2015 aboard his 23ft Hunter 707, Outlaw.

He has circumnavigated Britain solo in a 6.5m Mini Transat 6.50, and then sailed the boat from Cumbria to Iceland and into the Arctic Circle.

The Big C Atlantic Challenge aimed to raise money for Cancer Research in tribute to Tom McNally and Andrew’s mother and father, who also both died from cancer.


There you have it friends! Sometimes the best laid plans go awry. Will he try again? If he does, Maritime Maunder wishes him bonne chance! 

Until next time, 

                                        Fair Winds,

                                                  Old Salt