sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Photo Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Three days rowing after yacht sinks - survivors tell their story

Three days rowing after yacht sinks - survivors tell their story

'This is the boat that the two rowed for three days to reach shore, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. Photo by Joe Cavaretta, Sun Sentinel'    .

Have you ever had nightmares about what you would do if your boat hit an unknown object mid-ocean and sank suddenly? What if your radios were flooded, your EPIRB didn't work, you couldn't reach your liferaft and you ended up in your dinghy?

It's happened to two men who lived to tell the tale, and what a gripping story it is. They rowed for three days to reach shore, which they did at Boca Raton on the Florida coastline, just north of Fort Lauderdale.


How did they do it? What kept them going? 'Keep moving!' Mike Ayres told Jerome Burdi and Peter Franceschina of the Sun Sentine, after the incident, 'It's like those survivor stories. Don't stop. If you stop, you're done.'

It took three days, but they finally made it, landing ashore on a Boca Raton beach about 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, after leaving Islamorada in the Florida Keys on their yacht Saturday afternoon.

Ayres, 46, an Islamorada snowbird who lives near Detroit, and Steffon Moore, 19, of Miami Gardens, a hired deckhand, were making the 85-nautical-mile trip to Bimini in the Bahamas to pick up a dive tank compressor.

But about five hours into their passage, the quick trip turned into a life-or-death journey. Their 41-foot yacht Lady Rosalee, capsized and sank in heavy seas 12 miles south of Gun Cay in the Bahamas, authorities said.

The Coast Guard was never notified of the sinking, so no search was launched, Petty Officer Sabrina Elgammal said.

Interviewed bedside in Boca Raton Regional Hospital, where he was recovering from hypothermia and dehydration, Ayres said he spent a month and a half working on the yacht before the trip.

'It was immaculate,' he said. 'You could probably go around the world with it, except as we learned you've got to be careful.'

A massive thump:
Underway at about 5 p.m. Saturday, the men heard a massive thump on the side of the hull. Ayres, a lumberjack, doesn't know what he hit, but it caused the sea to come rushing into the yacht, in a spot about 1,400 deep.

'We did everything we could to save it,' a sunburned and exhausted Ayres said. They bailed furiously, but soon the boat's batteries flooded, leaving the men without an engine or radio. Preparing for the inevitable, they dropped the dinghy into the ocean and loaded it with survival gear — oars, flares, two gallons of fresh water, a bucket of equipment, chocolate chip cookies and crackers.

Then they jumped in and Ayres started to row – for days. 'It was one series of bad events after another,' he said.

Running through his mind was the fatal Gulf of Mexico fishing trip that killed Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith and former University of South Florida player William Bleakley in February 2009, after hypothermia set in.

To fend off the cold, Ayres and Moore told the Sun Sentinel they tore open their life jackets and wrapped themselves in the filling to maintain their body heat being sapped by the strong winds and 15-foot waves. They began to hallucinate, Ayres said, seeing buildings and animals in the middle of the open ocean.

Yet Ayres kept his bearings, navigating by the stars. Each time he spotted another boat, he fired off flares, a total of 16, but no one spotted them. Hopes of rescue faded – but they kept moving.

'It was like a perfect storm of not being able to get a boat to help us,' Ayres said.

By Monday night, Ayres knew they were just 2 miles off Miami Beach, not too far from the Government Cut shipping channel. He said they could see the tantalizing contours of the South Beach skyline with its shimmering hotel lights.

But their problems weren't over yet. A powerful wind, apparently the remnants of Tropical Storm Sean, relentlessly pushed them north.

It wasn't until early Tuesday that Ayres could overcome the winds and waves to safely navigate the dinghy westward and to shore.

They finally beached their boat in the 700 block of South Ocean Boulevard. Aboard the small fiberglass Watertender were two life jackets, a life preserver, a fishing pole and a five-gallon bucket.

Ayres' mother, Joyce, reached by phone in Cedarville, Mich., said she was relieved that her son made it. If anyone could have done it, it would be him, she said.

When you're at sea, you have to be prepared for the unexpected, Mike Ayres said.

'This would have killed a lot of people, and quickly,' he said. 'I tend to keep my head, and being out in the wide blue ocean, you have to.'

Best news comes from the Sun Sentinel?nid=90789




by Sun Sentinel/Sail-World Cruising

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=90789

11:59 AM Wed 16 Nov 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

12 Oct 2013  British sailor's collision with 120,000 tanker comes to court
14 Aug 2013  Shipwrecked sailor rescues Jack Russell, forgets wife
09 Aug 2013  Ouch! rocks at 4ft, draft over 7ft, not a good look at 6 knots
23 Jun 2013  Blind Japanese sailor's hopes dashed, rescued from liferaft
19 May 2013  Another 'couldn't cope' rescue - sailor 'too tired' to continue
26 Apr 2013  The moment 750,000 people won't forget
01 Mar 2013  The voyage that went wrong and more wrong and even more wrong...
09 Feb 2013  Slow boat to America - 30ft Japanese boat arrives Oregon
26 Jan 2013  Captain Calamity - 15 rescues but he doesn't want saving
10 Jan 2013  Capsized sailor's life jacket comes to the rescue
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret *Feature by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor, Seattle














America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz, Auckland, NZ
















Congressional Cup - Victory for Taylor Canfield and crew by Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF),




2014 Halifax – Saint-Pierre Ocean Race by Patricia Nelder, Nova Scotia














Image Gallery: Stratis SL33 flies on the Waitemata by Richard Gladwell,Sail-world.com/nz,


Audi Melges 20- Sperry Topsider Charleston Race Week - Light final day by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,
















America's Cup: Gino Morrelli outlines the new AC62 design
Doyle Sails New Zealand signs Andrew Brown as One Design Manager
America's Cup: Dean Barker's Blog - A sail with the Duke and Duchess *Feature
29er World Youth Sailing Week Easter regatta - Day 1 and 2 overall
C Thomas Clagett Jr Memorial Clinic/Regatta - Entries start to roll in
50th Congressional Cup: See the delayed coverage and media conferences
Clipper Race 10 Day 27: Closing stages - Qingdao to San Francisco
Canfield, Williams, Bruni, Swinton in Congressional Cup final four
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week - Day 2
Audi Melges 20 Charleston Race Week - Perfect conditions in Charleston
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Full on ocean conditions for day 3
PWA World Tour - A taste of things to come at La Torche + Video
Women's International Match Racing Series kicks off in June
Melges 32 Audi Tron Sailing Series - Action shots by Max Ranchi
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Frustrating conditions
Man rescued after falling overboard in Pacific taken to hospital
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Youth leading Melges 20
Congressional Cup - Canfield leads toward Congressional Cup sailoffs
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Perfection for Day 1
America's Cup: Coutts claims ISAF Jury on a crusade, backs Kiwi report *Feature
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Will light winds hamper progress?   
Les Voiles de St. Barth - Preparing to rock Saint Barthélemy waters   
Clipper Round the World Race - OneDLL and Qingdao now in San Francisco   
America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ up against funding hurdle for year *Feature   
Melges 32 Sailing Series Napoli - Day 1 images by Stefano Gattini   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   
Melges 32 Sailing Series - Napoli action shots by Max Ranchi   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica launch new boat   
Emirates Team NZ: Royals duke it out on the Waitemata   
2014 Charleston Race Week - Thousands of sailors descend on Charleston   
The Congressional Cup 2014 - Williams hangs on with a classy crowd   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   
RORC Transatlantic Race - Notice of Race now available   
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Sunshine and smiles on day 2   
Rolex China Sea Race on the horizon   
What can a boat name tell you about the person behind the helm?   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Race 10 rumbles on   
SAP 5O5 World Championship - Kiel action starts August 13th   
Volvo Ocean Race - It's a family Affair   
Clipper Round the World Race - Great Britain claims line honours   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XL WAS US