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On 25 August 2021 at 19:01 JB Duler <jbduler@...> wrote:
It is very difficult to judge the crew based on third party reports. Anybody who has experienced extreme seasickness will tell you that they would have preferred to die.
We were caught in the same area in 1994, on a Swan 47, in the path of Huricane Gordon. We experienced 50 foot waves due to the combination of gulf stream current and wind in opposite directions. As we fell down a monstrous wave we broke the hydraulic of the back stay and the hydraulic boom vang. We rigged cable running backs we had ready to deploy. Then the furled genoa exploded and we had shredded pieces flying on the fore stay, the noise was unbelievable. It was pretty close to living hell.
We had a little storm sail on a second fore stay, just to surf the waves and to avoid being rolled over.
We were four of us, very experienced but very seasick. Vomit over over the galley and saloon, spilled pasta and tuna we had tried to cook. The smell was unbearable.
I tried to call the Coast Guard multiple times (a PanPan instead of Mayday, just to inform them of the situation and to talk to somebody). We could never connect with them, we were too far with only the VHF.
Since our SSB was down, and without news, my company triggered a search by the Coast Guards. We did not know that.
The Coasties saved the crew of a big Hinckley that was scared to death. The boat was lost.
The Coasties saved a couple off Hatteras. The sailboat was found the following year going in circles in the same area.
As for us they abandoned the search and informed my company that we had probably sunk with no chance to survive (we did! otherwise I would not here today to tell you the story).
I am told that when you die everybody says that you were the greatest and kindliest man on earth. So everybody mourned us.
After we finally landed in Fort Lauderdale we promised ourselves that we would never be again on a sailboat. EVER. But the following year we were together crossing the Pacific on a race to Hawaii.
Be kind to others if they get rescued, everybody has a different level of stamina, or just willingness to live.
John Bernard "JB" Duler
Meltem # 19, Western Med