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Vanish - Making The Switch From Sail to Power
19 Dark 44
27 February, 2013

It's not the best anchorage. On my Rolling Richter Scale (RSS), it was a 3 even though we had an offshore south wind but due to a small south-west swell and being held side on with the tide, the guys deployed both flopper stoppers which brought the RSS down to less than 1. Vanish is sitting quietly at anchor as usual in a new spot with no one else around. It's dark outside. The moon has risen and Jake is serenading Renae on the bow with his new guitar. Maynard and I are reading in the salon but then we hear a sound. What's that? Sounds like a fairly large helicopter. At home, a helicopter at night could be police, military or rescue. It's very loud now so we race outside and peer towards the sound but can see nothing. It's a cloudless moonlit night and the chopper is probably 200m overhead. It's unlit! How can that be? We've never come across an unlit aircraft before. It passes but 20 minutes later it's back in the sky and all we see of it is the silhouette as it passes low in front of the moon heading stealthily off into the distance. But what's this? It's coming back and we can hear it coming low right towards us. We race to the fly deck as it's nearly on top of us now and 2 seconds before it passes over us, the pilot switches on a searchlight to illuminate Vanish. The light is quickly turned off again within 5 seconds. He circles and passes across the moon again in pitch darkness before disappearing. What just happened?

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