Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops Marine 2020 - LEADERBOARD

The missing sailboat and its bold recovery

by Alana Stillitano 28 Aug 03:19 UTC
Finding Eclipse © Alana Stillitano

The sun had finally peaked through the clouds after days of wind and stormy seas. A young man spotted a blue speck in the distance after searching the Atlantic for days from a sea plane. He zoomed in closer and he saw it. His home, his sailboat, the Eclipse. After three long days of searching, there she was, perfectly upright and resting in the mud a short distance from the shore.

It is not every day that Sea Tow Key Biscayne Captains Peter Dominguez and Bill Rychlicki are called because of a missing boat. Their most common calls at the locally-owned on-water assistance franchise include providing tows, jump starts, fuel deliveries and more to boaters. However, with more boaters out on the water this season than ever, especially newer boaters, there is much to be learned about safety and protocol while at the helm.

Just three days earlier the wind was whipping across the ocean water, sending salty sprays onto a young Phil Gutowski's face as he walked to the marina where his Tayana 42, Eclipse, was moored. But while on the tender heading towards mooring #91, where the bright blue hull of Eclipse would peak through - he saw nothing. The boat was gone.

Thousands of questions run through a person's mind when you cannot find your boat after you anchored it in: Had it been stolen? How could she have broken free? How could she have made it through the mooring field without hitting Anything else?

Days were passing but to no avail. Eclipse was nowhere to be seen and hope was dwindling fast.

Finally, Phil was able to search for Eclipse while on a seaplane. The skies had cleared and a spec was visible a few miles away. After flying a little closer, Phil and the pilot could see the distinctive blue hull. The hatches were still shut, the battery voltage was good, and the bilge was nearly dry! A dream come true.

Capt. Dominguez and Capt. Rychlicki had to wait until high tide to pull Eclipse to freedom. They dragged her about one mile across the shallow sand and rock of the shore until the water was deep enough for her to float on her own; lifting the weight off Phil's shoulders.

Although it seemed as if all hope was lost, Phil never gave up. With the help of the boating community and Sea Tow Key Biscayne, the Eclipse returned home just as it left. While also learning a hard lesson - always make sure your vessel is tightly secured with the proper lines before you leave the dock or mooring.

Related Articles

Sailing legend makes landfall in Australia
Jon Sanders arrived in Bundaberg this morning A global pandemic and some of the worst ocean conditions experienced in decades have not stopped world renowned Australian yachtsman Jon Sanders AO OBE from reaching home soil on his record 11th solo circumnavigation of the world. Posted on 22 Oct
No Plastic Waste Voyage update
Jon has sailed 21,366nm (40,000kms) since leaving Fremantle At the time of sending this update Jon is 370 nm east of Bundaberg, Queensland. Jon has sailed 21,366nm (40,000kms) since leaving Fremantle almost one year ago. He is currently on a WSW course making 3.7 knots in moderate conditions. Posted on 19 Oct
No Plastic Waste voyage update - 6th October 2020
Jon Sanders advises conditions are improving and hoping for some calmer weather Jon has hit what looks to be a severe trough much like the Queen' Birthday Storm in 1994. That storm caused what is believed to be New Zealand's largest marine rescue operation. Posted on 12 Oct
Archaeologists discover 17th century warship
The ship is most likely the Danish warship 'Delmenhorst' Marine archaeologists from the Viking Ship Museum are currently conducting diving surveys of the wreck of a large warship from the 17th century. Posted on 20 Sep
Understanding wooden boat construction
Learn about carlins, king beams, and more We'd like everyone to be able to find that solace, so here are some great new resources to help feed the current boatbuilding renaissance Posted on 5 Sep
Celebrating Marvin Creamer's bold circumnavigation
A geographer and university professor who circumnavigated the planet Celebrating Marvin Creamer (1916-2020), a geographer and university professor who circumnavigated the planet without any navigational instruments in the early 1980s. Posted on 25 Aug
Guest etiquette aboard a friend's yacht
There are few things as enjoyable as spending the day aboard a friend's boat. There are few things as enjoyable as spending the day aboard a friend's boat. Sunshine, drinks, music and swimming all spring to mind. But have you ever taken the time to consider the correct etiquette for such an event? Posted on 20 Aug
Solstice Celebration in New Zealand
International cruising fleet thanks Whangarei for safe haven The austral winter solstice was marked with a new celebration this year in Whangarei, New Zealand. A fleet of international yachties, or boaties as they are called here, is making the best of their extended pandemic stay. Posted on 4 Aug
The new world of cruising and deliveries
Travel restrictions are making moving around difficult, delivery captains have an upturn in interest Travel restrictions are making it difficult for people to move freely, and delivery captains have noticed an uptick in requests and inquiries Posted on 28 Jul
Sailing Circus aboard 70 foot ketch
70 foot SV Rosalie Clare is a sailing circus Owner Ari Vanderschoot bought the vessel in Washington in 2010 and, with her partner Engineer Ben Vroom, sailed her to the South Pacific to enjoy their shared passion for the ocean. Posted on 28 Jul
Lizard 2020 - FOOTERCruise Village 2020 - FOOTERVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 2