2 Days To Go And We Are Fine

We're about two days out of Tortola, we've been having a blast, and we are fine.   We heard that one of the boats may have had a problem and just wanted everyone to know that we're doing fine.  We've been having a great time, had Mahi Mahi on the table, and are now doing some motor sailing and expect to be in Tortola in about 2 days.   Lots more to tell once we're in the marina and have connectivity.  Monday, Nov 15, 9:30am.

Note: This post was relayed by satellite phone and summarizes a message from Monica to the best of the editors 6:30am pre-coffee ability.

Editors Note 4:30pm:  A boat that diverted to the Bahamas was swamped and a crew member is missing.  Below is the sad news about Rule 62, the boat that was beside Moonshadow in Hampton.  At the bottom there's a video report from an Atlanta TV station. 

Monday, November 15

Update: 4:22pm:  The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) continues the search for Laura.

Cruising Rally Association announces crew member search and rescue mission is continuing for sailing vessel Rule 62, crew member, Laura Zekoll.

November 15, 2010…Cruising Rally Association (CRA), Hampton, VA…Steve Black, owner of Cruising Rally Association, announced today that crew member, Laura Zekoll from Atlanta, GA is the subject of a search and rescue mission by the US Coast Guard and the Bahamian Defense Force. 

The news of the search was received by CRA mid-day on Sunday, November 14, 2010 from boat owner, Richard Ross.   The emergency contact information for Laura Zekoll, was communicated to the Coast Guard who notified her contact that a search was in process.   The notice of the search was shared with the fleet on Monday morning, during the radio check-in at 07:00 hours AST (Atlantic Standard Time).   

The owners of sailing vessel Rule 62, Richard and Debra Ross, also from Atlanta, GA, communicated earlier that they had made a decision to leave the fleet and divert to the Bahamas.  During the radio check-in on Saturday at 19:00 hours AST, Richard reported that they were nearing the Bahamas.   According to the satellite transponder provided by the CRA to each vessel in the fleet, Rule 62 had stopped moving when the transponder reported at 20:56 hours AST Saturday, November 13.

Black said, “with great sadness, we report that Rule 62, a Jeanneau 46DS, was swamped while attempting entry into the Bahamas. Richard and crew Laura Zekoll were washed overboard and recovered. The life raft was launched. Richard, Debra, Laura, and a fourth crew member, David Sheppard from Ellsworth, Maine entered the life raft with life jackets on and attempted to row it to safety. The life raft subsequently overturned in swells. Richard, Debra, and David were separated from Laura and washed up on the beach. The search for Laura Zekoll is still continuing.

The boat is currently on a reef in the Bahamas. Richard and Debra Ross and Sheppard were airlifted to safety after their emergency signal was received by the Coast Guard. 

Here's a report from a TV station in Atlanta.

missing crew from Rule 62

Paul and Monica, Glad you guys are okay; raise a glass for Laura for me when you get in to port. Steve sv Annie's Rose Maryland Marina

Search For Laura Suspended

Tuesday, Nov 16, noon:  Steve Black, owner of Cruising Rally Association, has been notified by the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) today that “the conditions are not favorable for finding Laura Zekoll alive.” The search and rescue mission involving the US Coast Guard, the Bahamas Defense Force, BASRA, and local efforts since Saturday night has resulted in “no findings.” The US Coast Guard has suspended its activity. The BDF will suspend its activity today. BASRA will continue aerial surveys of the vessel and area.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Laura's friends and family as well as the crew of Rule 62.

Here's coverage by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

   Coast Guard ends search for missing Atlanta woman

   Atlanta woman, lost at sea, known for indefatigable spirit

Wed 11/17 - Here's a story and video from the Atlanta Fox station:

   Vigil Held For Atlanta Women Missing From Sailboat

Though details are still sketchy the best word now is that they diverted because the two ladies on the boat were both seasick and as they attempted to enter the cut into the Bahamas they were hit by a large wave, lost their mast, were swamped and then slammed onto the reef.

More Info On Rule 62 Tragedy

What a terrible tragedy for the folks on Rule 62, let's all pray that Laura will be found. Of course, as bad as I feel for them, my overwhelming feeling is one of relief that Monica and Paul are fine.

Googling for more information I found a sailing forum where there's some interesting information. Apparently the conditions in the Bahamas over the weekend were very bad. Those cuts entering the Bahamas were in 'rage' condition which happens when the currents are going one way and the swells and wind are going the opposite direction. Causes very turbulent water. A resident on the Bahamian island just south of where they sank said the conditions were the worst he's seen in ten years. The guy who was in charge of the 8 Caribbean 1500 boats that sailed directly to the Bahamas said that going through that cut in those conditions was 'impossible'.  We also don't know why they diverted to the Bahamas and what may have been wrong with the boat.

If you want to read more you can see the comment thread at Sailnet.


Its great news that you have arrived safely ,now the celebrations can start .Well done guys !! Our thoughts are also with the Laura and that she is found safely . You have put so much time and effort into your goal of getting to BVIS ,and now it has paid off ! Cant wait for the detail !!