wife Gaile and I (married for 40 years) were sailing in our catamaran
around Anguilla in 1990 when I first saw a racing can 2 or 3 miles
out to sea, and then I dismissed it. A Racing Can is a large red
buoy that yachts race around, these can be found marking the sailing
race track. Gaile said to me, “what is that red thing over
there pointing at that red buoy?” I said it is a race buoy
and she said it can not be because there are no yachts. DUH of course,
so she said let’s go and look at it.
So we turned our catamaran and headed for the red buoy, it took
a few minutes to reach it and as we got closer it was clear that
2 men with red life jackets were waving at us very desperately as
we got 10 yards from them the one gentleman jumped into the water
and swam to our swim platform, he was shaking and as I pulled him
onto the platform his rings fell off and went down into 2 miles
of ocean, he did not care. He huddled on our boat and could not
stop saying thank you.
The other gentleman was calm
and explained that they had taken this 25 foot sailing yacht from
the water toys of their battle ship which was anchored in Phillips
harbor, but it started to take on water and capsized a mile or so
from shore. The wind was also blowing them off shore as well so
they were getting further and further away from shore. Could I tie
a rope to the capsized yacht and drag it back to their battle ship,
I said YES. The sail and mast pointed to the seabed and we were
able to do 1 mile per hour so it took us a good few hours to get
back to the battle ship.
On the way back the gentleman who had kept his wits about him explained
(lets call him David and the other John), David explained that John
wanted to swim ashore but John was so erratic and scared that David
knew he would never make it, so David kept telling John just to
remain on the hull of the up-turned yacht. David also said that
a family of 6 had come to within 20 yards of them in a week-end
power boat and turned around and left them where they were.
They were extremely grateful when we dropped them on board their
battle ship and were very pleased we dragged their yacht all the
way back. They were adrift for 3.5 hours.
4 or 5 months later we got a letter from the captain of that battle
ship’s thanking Gaile and me for rescuing his 2 able sea men.
See copy of letter below.
moral of this story is if you have any type of sailing yacht, no
matter how big or small, always paint the hull bright red, the hull
of this sailing yacht was white, had these 2 men not had their bright
orange life jackets on we would not have gone to look at that red