In the book Nation, by Terry Pratchett, a sailing ship becomes airborne from the force of a storm, and is pushed inland quite a distance, before becoming lodged in trees. Is this possible? If so, are there records of it happening to other sailing ships, that Terry Pratchett could have possibly used as inspiration?

  • 2
    This one is funny because Pratchett's The Last Continent has boats rowed in a dry river by design.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 10:02

2 Answers 2


There are many instances of boats, some of them quite large, being carried inland by a tsunami. For example...

Boat on building

...which is from the Japanese tsunami of 2011.

It is quite likely that Terry Pratchett took events of this nature as inspiration for the book. Although, wind alone isn't going to lift a boat any distance, the story doesn't have to be scientifically accurate.

  • Blimey. That picture's genuine?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 12:09
  • 2
    @Randal'Thor - Have you never seen a houseboat before?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 15:59
  • 4
    Find whoever built that house, and put them in charge. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:16

In addition to tsunamis, Hurricanes provide great deals of destruction in coastal areas. Although, in Nation it was a tsunami, IIRC.

Hurricane Sandy in 2012 tore entire islands on the East Coast of the United States, leaving whole marinas full of boat stranded inland. Water is a one of the most powerful forces when it comes in large quantities.

boats boat2

Even whole towns can buried under debris and houses torn in half... houses houses2

Moral of the story... never under estimate the power of Mother Nature!

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