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Breaching whale damages sailboat

A sailboat participating in the Oregon International Offshore Race was struck by a breaching whale, suspected to be a humpback, last Thursday off the coast of Oregon. Nobody aboard was injured.

The 38-foot vessel, ironically named L'Orca, was about a half-hour into the race from Astoria, Ore., to Victoria, Canada, when the whale breached and crushed the rigging and mast of the boat.

"Our boat was moving at about 9 knots over the water, and all of a sudden, about a few inches, maybe a foot off the starboard side, a whale came breaching out of the water," crew member Ryan Barnes of Portland, Ore., told the Coast Guard in a videotaped interview.

Four boats that assisted the damaged competitor were given redress on their finishing times for their efforts.

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