The sailing boat Scarf had crossed the Atlantic, stopped in Venezuela and Tobago and endured two years of Quebec's arctic cold. Engineless for two years in the Caribbean, its captain had always kept it on course.
But strong winds at the Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach Florida Sunday morning caused the demise of the 1968 Armagnac, cracking the wooden boat against jagged rocks along the sea wall, destroying Edward Mark Rouvier's home of seven years
Rouvier, a Frenchman, was on his way to the Bahamas with his girlfriend, Jacinthe Croteau, 27, of Quebec, Canada.
The crash left him homeless and pacing the jetty all day, looking for remains of the ship and belongings that washed up on the rocks.
'The boat is everywhere here,' Rouvier, 30, said early Sunday evening.
He had recovered a flour container and a propane tank, parts of the hull and the compass.
About 11 a.m. Sunday, Rouvier navigated the yellow and bright blue boat along the inlet. But the engine gave out. He tried to control Scarf with the mainsail and jib sail, but the wind wouldn't let him.
It took only a few minutes to realize the current would win. Rouvier scrambled to recover his passport, computer and Global Positioning System. He couldn't find Croteau's passport quickly enough.
The two escaped the boat after it crashed into the rocks - just feet from where it would have made it into the wide sea.
'We tried to the last drop to put the boat back in the right direction,' Croteau said. 'I was scared.'
Dozens of onlookers watched, helplessly. An hour later, only the mast remained intact.
The onlookers then stepped up to aid the young couple.
The Heitts gave them a room in the Marriott Vacation Club.
Doug and Linda Wogstad offered to store recovered possessions and broken boat parts on their patio. Tricia Blash fed them apples and peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Tim Blash hauled the goods in his Chevrolet pickup.
'That's my life, in the water,' said Rouvier, who lost journals, writings and photographs.
He's not sure what he will do next. But he planned to dive and rescue his anchor today.
Anyone who would like to aid Rouvier can contact him at email@example.com
. He also has a Web site, scarf.zayann.org.