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    Marques... Lost four decades ago...
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2024 May 28, 13:28 -0700

    Monday, June 3, 2024, is the fortieth anniversary of the sinking of the sail-training tall ship "Marques" (pronounced as if "Markez"). The Marques sank around 4am local time on June 3, 1984 in a sudden squall on the first night of a race with other tall ships after departing Bermuda the previous evening. The vessel sank immediately with some estimates from survivors suggesting it sank in less than thirty seconds. Nine crew and sailing trainees survived.

    Nineteen aboard the Marques were lost, most as they slept in their bunks. Among the lost was Susan P. Howell who was 37 at the time. Susan Howell was associate director of the planetarium at Mystic Seaport and had worked there since the 1960s. She had recently written and published a well-regarded textbook in celestial navigation, titled simply "Practical Celestial Navigation". I first learned celestial navigation from early drafts of that book.

    I worked at the planetarium at Mystic Seaport in high school and college, on and off from 1978 to 1984 (and again in later years), and I knew Sue Howell. She was intelligent, highly knowledgeable, and profoundly competent in her favorite subjects, celestial navigation and astronomy. And she was a kind, decent person. If history had gone differently, she would be 77 now, but she remains 37 for everyone who knew her.

    The sinking of the Marques has been seen as a watershed in the "sail training" community leading to modern safety standards which, it is believed, have prevented and will prevent similar tragedies. The story of the sinking of the Marques was re-told skillfully in the book "Tall Ships Down" written by Dan Parrott, himself a survivor of the sinking of a tall ship, the "Pride of Baltimore", just two years after the loss of the Marques. It's a good book.

    I'm attaching here an article from "Sea History" which I found online yesterday evening. Also two images of the vessel.

    Frank Reed
    Clockwork Mapping / ReedNavigation.com
    Conanicut Island USA




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