Headsail saves boat after whale attack


What happens when a whale gets tangled in your anchor rode while you are ashore enjoying dinner? Hunter 40.5 owner Dennis Weglehner can certainly tell you.

He and his girlfriend Nikki went ashore for dinner on Niue, a 100-square-mile remote island nation in the South Pacific. The anchorage was calm and serene when other cruisers reported seeing Weglehner’s boat moving as though under power. A whale had apparently become tangled in their anchor rode and was pulling the boat through the anchorage. At the time of the incident they had a Cruisers Light Air Sail Solution (CLASS) code zero headsail with Facnor furler connected to a bale on the anchor roller. The anchor roller was ripped from the deck along with the bow cleats. Now tangled in the anchor rode, the sail and the furler were the only things connecting the boat to the anchor.

Despite the extensive damage to the boat, the furler, and the sail, it was ultimately the headsail that saved the day. A strange tale that Weglehner will likely regale cruising friends with for years to come.

Island Planet Sails

In what is assumed to be a whale strike, the Hunter 40.5’s bow roller was torn off along with its roller furler and sail leaving the boat tethered to its headsail alone.


By Ocean Navigator