ROBERT REID – Crime Writer and Investigative Journalist

Patanela is Missing

Patanela is Missing


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Sunk Without a Trace

In 1993 Reid co-authored (with journalist Paul Whittaker) PATANELA IS MISSING, an investigative account of Australia’s greatest sea mystery. Patanela, a 19-metre steel schooner, vanished without trace while approaching Sydney Harbour in November 1988. But Patanela was one of the sturdiest yachts afloat and was famous for her Antarctic voyages and circumnavigations of the globe.

She was considered by those who sailed her, and by the man who built her, to be virtually unsinkable. Constructed of steel with four watertight bulkheads, Patanela carried the latest safety and navigational equipment. During her three decades sailing the roughest seas in the world, Patanela did not falter.

Down she went or did she?

There are few who believe she faltered on that calm November night, within sight of the lights of Botany Bay. There was no mayday call, no distress flares sighted, no debris, and no bodies as evidence of her sinking.

Reid and Whittaker spent three years investigating Patanela’s disappearance. Their startling conclusions show that truth is often stranger than fiction. This is a conundrum yet unsolved, one that seems to defy a definitive answer. It is truly Australia’s greatest sea mystery.

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