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  1. I was playing my Wickes on the Polar map when the following incident occurred. Starting on the northwest side of the line of ships (as seen on the mini-map), I and another player (a cruiser) faced off against similar opponents. I took down the enemy cruiser with torps, and their destroyer paid us the same courtesy. I turned northwest to lead him on a short, merry chase, and gunned him down. Circling southwest (and nearing the western map border) my Forward Lookout screamed, "SHIP, DEAD AHEAD!" Without thinking I ordered, "Guns on new target! Prepare to fire!" (I glanced at the mini-map to check to see whether I faced a Cruiser, or a Destroyer. If an enemy Destroyer had gotten the drop on me, I was dead meat. But where had this ship come from? We'd engaged and eliminated the only foes that had shown up on the start screen!) "Hold your fire! Hold your fire! Civilian vessel! Civilian vessel!" As we bumped as if against an invisible border, our ship speed dropped to near-nothing and we slowed and pulled alongside the eerily silent craft. It was a two-masted sailing ship of some sort, with the foremast square rigged, while the mainmast aft was fore and aft rigged. It was smaller than us, maybe 150 tons, and though it had its full compliment of greyish-white sails, it looked old. With two masts it wasn't a Full Rigged Ship, or a Frigate, or a Barque, or a Brig. But then again not a Sloop, Schooner, or Cutter. Perhaps a two-masted Brigantine? My binoculars had trouble piercing the white fog than enclosed us both, but straining to scan the ship's deck I could see no crew at stations. None on the deck, or in the rigging, or in or about the cabin. No ship's name or insignia on the hull, no nationality flags, no signal flags, nothing. We sailed this way, side-by-side, for a score of heartbeats. What was this ship doing out here? Where was her crew? What happened to them? Were they victims of the war we had to return to? "Signal the engine room, hard a-starboard. Make best speed. Rejoin the group." Word was passed and the destroyer lunged forward and left the stranger in our wake. Our mute companion eerily disappeared in the intervening gloom. "What was that, Captain?," my XO muttered. "A ghost ship?" A horrible omen, that's what it was -- just what we didn't need. But duty was duty. "Quartermaster, make a note of the time. Log it: abandoned sailing vessel sighted. Unable to render assistance. No crew visible. No identifying marks or features. Returned to battle." We sped back to the fray, the unknown visitor left for memories and lore. *************** You, too, can have your run-in with the Flying Dutchman! He's on the Polar Map, starting at square Null or Zero/C(?), but by the time you sail your way there, he's probably at Null, D. (To get to the Polar map quickly, play a Tier 1 cruiser such as the Black Swan. Mapmaking favors either the Island or Polar maps.) The vessel sails from north to south, paralleling the map border. If you sail alongside the ship, you'll determine it's making about 4.5 knots. If you fire on it, your shots will pass right through! -- a ghost ship indeed! And if you end up on the other (eastern) side of the Polar map, you can visit the Russian sailors -- and their fishing trawler? freighter? -- at F/11! If you look at the icy island there you'll see a lit cabin on a snowy plain a bit south of where their ship is anchored. *************** I apologize for any nautical/naval words, terms, ranks, or orders I used incorrectly -- I'm not a sailor. If anyone really IS a sailor and can tell me what kind of ship that sailing vessel is, I'd be interested to know. I'm pretty sure the designers of WoWs wouldn't just put an unknown/made-up vessel there -- it's gotta represent some real vessel, right? And to the World of Warships designers, thanks for the mini Easter Egg. I just about had a heart attack when I casually glanced up at the screen and saw a ship dead ahead where none was supposed to be, and just after a particularly nasty fight! Lotsa fun!
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