At this point it seems unlikely that Gray will be found alive; that sounds pretty insensitive to write but the ocean is unforgiving and Gray has been missing for 7 days. That’s some very cold water at this time of year (52 degrees, if that) and a very big ocean, even with top notch survival gear it’s hard to survive long in the water. The boat was equipped with a survival raft but no EPIRB signal was detected, which would seem to indicate that Gray never used the life raft.
The thing that is odd about this story is that the days before and after the first report of Gray’s boat gone missing featured very mild weather for this time of year. Sailing outside the Bay is a challenge any time of the year but especially so in winter, however it would appear that Gray picked a pretty bad time to go sailing as there were no appreciable winds and that meant he would have had to motor most of the way. Gray’s boat, a 40′ C&C, certainly is capable of sailing in a range of conditions and Gray himself is an experienced sailor known for being well prepared and keeping his boat in good working order.
Gray was sailing to the Farallones, an island and rock cluster 27 miles due west of the Golden Gate also known as “whitey’s house” for the large numbers of great white sharks that congregate in the area and feed on the islands primary inhabitants, seals. Winds typically run 15-20 knots out of the west/northwest but it’s been quite calm for the last couple of weeks, unseasonably so, and the swell conditions in that area tend not to be too hazardous because of the depth of the water.
Like a lot of people, I have been following this story over the last week. Gray is a legitimate legend, not just respected by his peers but also liked and that alone is a rare accomplishment in this business. The effort that Amazon is undertaking using MT to scan satellite images is pretty creative, maybe next time something like this happens they will be quick to put it into action at the first reports.
Then Amazon stepped in. They arranged for a satellite sweep of the area and stored the images on their S3 storage service. They then created a task on their Mechanical Turk service to allow volunteers to scan the images to look for the boat. Itâ€™s a tough task – the boat would only be about six pixels in size in an image, and there was a lot of cloud cover obscuring large parts of the area scanned. But volunteers are pouring in to help out.