sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video 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







ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets by Olga Maslivets, International RS:X Class Assoc.,
































470 Men and Women Worlds - Game on for Olympic Qualification by 470 International Association Class,












A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,




ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video by Luissa Smith, International 470 Class Association,












ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 4 images from Santander
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander: Emerging Nations Program sailors shine
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Teasing winds play havoc on day 4
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Hot conditions in Santander on day 4
Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships joins Bart’s Bash
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Grounded fishing boat creates problems
Marseille One Design - GC32 Armin Strom Sailing Team emerge victorious
Rolex Big Boat Series 2014 - Ready for another 50 years
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4
2014 Rolex Swan Cup - Eleventh-hour victories
Extreme Sailing Series - Kiwis clinch Act win in Istanbul + Video
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Two long races today for the J70 fleet
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Impressive to sail out of the Golden Gate
Extreme Sailing Series - Istanbul delivers four days of great racing
ISAF Sailing Worlds Santander - Day 3 images by Sail-World.com
Extreme Sailing Series: Emirates Team NZ bounces back for series win
Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds - Light winds and current test six classes
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Solid Day 3 for US Sailing Team
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 3 images by Jesus Renedo
Marseille One Design 2014 - GC32 Armin Strom blitzes final day
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Una Etapa 0 complicada para todos   
Santander 49ers: Olympic Gold Medallist says two into 90 does not go!! *Feature   
GBR aiming for first ever Nacra 17 Games berth at Santander Worlds   
Volvo Ocean Race: Man and sail overboard as Leg 0 serves up drama   
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 – Images by Dan Ibsen   
Santander Worlds – already a spectator success   
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 - Day 3 morning report   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Tales from the extreme   
Volvo Ocean Race: Latest starter wins opening race   
2014 J/70 World Championship - Healy, Abdullah, Becker and Borges win   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Full-blown, once again   
ISAF Worlds - Americans jump up Laser and Laser Radial leaderboard   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 3   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 2 images from Sail-World.com   
America's Cup: Luna Rossa sailing with two foiling AC45's + Video   
Extreme Sailing: Emirates Team NZ retain second overall   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio Olympic Laser spots snapped up   
Rolex Swan Cup - All set for final showdown   
Upper Midwest sailors need help to take it to the next level   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - RS:X action begins in Santander   


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.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT