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Monday, April 30, 2012

God looks out for fools , drunks and children

 I had never even sailed out of the Bay, and now found my self in a bad storm in the middle of the Gulf Stream .   ..                                                                                                                                                 Our patience had run thin we had been sitting in the Angelfish Creek mangroves near Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo  waiting for favorable weather to begin our Bahamas sailing adventure . It was February 6 1983 we were aboard the 30 ft. Trimaran “Lovely Lady”. We had sailed South from Coconut Grove before attempting to sail to Bimini , Bahamas. The thinking was to compensate for the drift of the Gulf Stream current . Day after day of bad weather . We were going through supplies and growing more anxious every minute .                                                                 We consisted of my bother John and my friend Mary. Blissfully ignorant of the danger we had just decided to “go for it “ rather than sit in the Mangroves another day. The boat had no power  no radio, no running light’s no maps or charts we had not filed a float plan,  or even checked the weather on that moonless winter night.    Our only “safety” equipment consisted of a few old life preservers a flare gun and a flash light.      Motor sailing  with the Main and  Jib sail up and our 25hp Mercury engine ½ throttle  hoping to make 7 knots.  The seas were rough but we managed to convince ourselves that the seas would soon calm as the lights from the Florida coast  faded .                                                             Sea conditions continued to deteriorate,    and soon the Boat was being slammed by huge waves the sea spray made it hard to see or communicate I estimated 10-12 ft swells,   the  first sign of trouble was the Jib sail had ripped and become useless, we were committed ;  no turning back .  There was a real possibility we would end up  dead ,We all sensed danger but didn't panic.  Not long after losing the Jib , a  large wave came up from behind and swallowed our 12’ dinghy,  the smaller boat in tow  trailed  us on a 5/8 nylon rope , It was never seen again...We were a small boat in a bad storm in a big ocean.  I was at the helm trying to keep the compass needle pointed East, John and Mary were below praying for a miracle. A quick check of my watch revealed that it was only 11pm to early to even pray for daylight !      The 5 gallon gas tanks that feed the Mercury had to be changed every few hours , a dangerous task on a slippery boat deck . John was up on deck and just starting to change tanks when he fell over board ...... (To be continued)..


  1. Exciting, you got me hooked, like to hear the ending! Theresa
    San Marcos, California

  2. you have to wait till next week :(