I enjoy White Squall, but PLEASE note (especially parents of prospective sail trainees) many parts of it are pure fiction and over the top Hollywood. However, it does capture the spirit of sail training and the camaraderie of going to sea.
Ridley Scott’s White Squall is a much fictionalizsd version of the true story of the Albatross, a “step” sistership to the SSV Tabor Boy, a ship on which I sailed during my 4 years of high school. Captain Dan Parrott’s great book Tall Ships Down, devotes a chapter to the Albatross and is a must read for anyone interested in tall ships and safety at sea.
Here’s the official trailer for White Squall. Order it from Netflix before the winter’s over. It’s an entertaining movie for a snowy weekend evening.
Captain William Curry of the high school tall ship Concordia that sank on Wednesday reports that his ship was a victim of a weather phenomenon called a microburst. However, Concordia is not the first victim of this type of extreme weather.
On May 2, 1961, the brigantineAlbatross also encountered a microburst 125 nautical miles of the Dry Tortugas and sank almost instantly taking 7 souls including 5 high school students. In 1996 Jeff Bridges starred in the Ridley Scott movie White Squall which is a fictionalized account of the Albatross story.
Here’s a video of Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Dan Gudgel, National Weather Service, Hanford, CA describing a microburst and it’s cause and effect. Make sure you stick with the video to the very end in order to see the incredible power and speed of these types of weather events.
Last year the Dallas Cowboys training facility was the victim of a microburst and this weather report video does also does a great job in explaining how microbursts occur.
Here’s raw video of the incident as it unfolds.
It’s not hard to imagine how a sudden powerful weather event like this could have caused a stout sailing ship like Concordia to capsize. It’s really a miracle that this didn’t happen in the middle of the night when students would not have been in above deck classes with easier and quicker access to escape the sinking ship.