Please select your home edition
Edition
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - LEADERBOARD

The missing sailboat and its bold recovery

by Alana Stillitano 27 Aug 2020 20:19 PDT
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

Hank Schmitt on the 21st Annual NARC Rally
An interview with Hank Schmitt on the 21st Annual NARC Rally I checked in with Hank Schmitt, founder and organizer of NARC and the CEO of Offshore Passage Opportunities, via email, to learn more about the 21st Annual NARC Rally. Posted on 28 Oct
Mike Horn on his recent expedition to Greenland
An interview with Mike Horn on his recent expedition to Greenland and Svalbard I checked in with circumnavigator and explorer Mike Horn, via email, to learn more about his recent expedition to Greenland and Svalbard. Posted on 19 Jan
One end to the other...
I got a sneak peak at the SV Delos Arctic trailer a while back, and swore to complete secrecy... Confession. I got a sneak peak at the SV Delos Arctic trailer a while back, and swore to complete secrecy, or face the long walk off a short pier... Posted on 20 Dec 2020
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 2020
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 2020
Fight against pollution with Ocean Vacuums
Seabin Project celebrates a new installation Seabin Project, the Aussie innovation that's tackling marine plastic pollution and educating the next generation of ocean savers, installed a new Seabin in the Pier 39 Marina Thursday, July 11th. Posted on 15 Jul 2019
Eagle Class 53, fitted out and beginning to fly
Sailed in various conditions off St John in the U.S. Virgin Islands The completed Eagle Class 53 has now sailed in various conditions off St John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Finishing touches are completed and she is beginning to sail in her true form. Posted on 15 Mar 2019
Hurricane Lane soaks Hawaii with 'Biblical' rains
A once-powerful hurricane twisted and drifted away from Hawaii Firefighters on the Big Island rescued 39 people from floodwaters Friday through early Saturday as the island grappled with the nearly four feet of rain from Tropical Storm Lane, formerly Hurricane Lane Posted on 27 Aug 2018
Much of Hawaii under hurricane warning
In effect for the Big Island, Maui County and Oahu The hurricane warning, in effect for the Big Island, Maui County and Oahu, means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours, while a hurricane watch is issued when hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. Posted on 23 Aug 2018
Coast Guard Foundation FOOTER 3RS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERHella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 002 gif Bottom