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DISASTER FEARS FOR ECLIPSE ARMADA

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Coastguards expressed fears for the half a million people expected to witness the total eclipse next month from 100...
Coastguards expressed fears for the half a million people expected to witness the total eclipse next month from 100,000 small boats in the Channel, reported The Times (24 July, p1).

The largest gathering of boats in British waters will be in pitch darkness for two minutes on the edge of one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Emergency planners said that weekend sailors could be caught unawares by sudden changes in wind direction, be swept

away by tidal races, drift into the shipping lanes or run into each other in the darkness.

There will also be dangers for the huge crowds expected to congregate near cliff edges and on crumbling headlands in the west country.

The eclipse, which will black out Cornwall and south Devon for two minutes on the morning of 11 August, takes place three days after Cowes Week. Up to 30,000 small boats are expected to make the short trip from the Isle of Wight to Portland Bill, just inside the line of

the total eclipse.

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