Orcas toss yacht 'like a rag doll' in Gibraltar Strait attack

Originally published at: Orcas toss yacht 'like a rag doll' in Gibraltar Strait attack | Boing Boing


Friendly reminder that the definition of “yacht” is very broad, basically meaning any boat with a below-deck cabin big enough to sleep in. My wife was a sailing instructor for years, and there are plenty of “yachts” that are less than 30 feet long. I couldn’t find mention of the boat size in any of the articles, but if it’s that easy for orcas to pull off the rudder, I’m guessing this is a more modestly sized one… in which case, these Orcas aren’t even picking on someone their own size…


Yeah, I keep forgetting that people read “yacht” and think that these are rich people. The smallest keelboats capable of crossing the Bay of Biscay like that are more in the 22-26ft range. This was probably a bigger one, since they speak of two rudders.

Not to mention that the last boat that was attacked and sunk was on a delivery, i.e. it had a temporary crew that just shifted the boat to new quarters for the owner, who was not on board.

Most blue water sailors like that are just passionate seafolk who don’t deserve our schadenfreude. Sailing is not what destroys orca habitats.

ETA: disregard my Bay of Biscay comment, I see this one was in the Strait of Gibraltar. The rest still applies, however


researchers are examining theories, one of which proposes that a single traumatized female orca might be instigating these aggressive interactions.

While I feel bad for the sailors (who presumably aren’t personally responsible for hurting any orcas), it’s good to have reminders of just how intelligent and relatable wildlife can be. Humanity has gone far out of its way to… well, I can’t really say “dehumanize” animals, so I’ll just say “set ourselves apart from other animals”, in order to justify using and abusing them in any way we see fit. Incidents like this are a wake-up call that animals have deeper emotions and thoughts than we usually give them credit for. Of course, knowing humanity, if this keeps happening the only “lesson” we’ll learn is “kill all the orcas”.


Let us sincerely hope not.


Can’t we train them to go after billionaire’s boats?


:thinking: Nah, after watching The Day of the Dolphin that probably wouldn’t end well. Once they’re finished playing with the billionaires’ boats, they’d probably get bored. Instead of moving on to smaller targets like jet skis, they might decide to try military vessels. We’ve already got “spy” Belugas, heaven help us if they get organized! Goodness knows, we’ve given them enough reason to be pissed at humans…

high five killer whale GIF



50 feet, according to some sleuthing.

This seems to be the one:

Based on



If our ultimate fate is to be destroyed by the rise of the orcas, we could do a lot worse than being trod under by a warlord named White Gladis. It’s got a very Mad Max feel to it.


The ships kind of did cause scurvy, by having the potential to spend long enough at sea without resupply that it became an issue.

This is how we forgot how to prevent scurvy- at the same time as the Royal Navy was switching from Mediterranean lemons to cheaper Caribbean limes (which, though they didn’t know it, are much lower in Vitamin C), they were switching from sailing ships to steamships, which made shorter voyages on which scurvy wasn’t an issue anyway. In the early 20th century, polar explorers suffered from scurvy despite taking their daily dose of lime juice.


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