If you will think back to the beginning of the month, there were several stories in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus about two women who had been stranded at sea for about five months.
It was headline and national TV news for about a week and then, poof, the story disappeared. It seems that their story had some, shall we say, inconsistencies. They said they left Honolulu on May 3 and immediately ran into a force 11 storm with 70 mile an hour winds which damaged her 50-foot sailboat. You would think they would have checked the weather before leaving. The weather service has no record of a storm in that part of May.
They had an EPIRB aboard — a device that sends a message to a satellite and requests assistance — and either did not use it or did use it and it did not work. They said they also had six different devices to call for help, but not one of them worked. A cell phone was washed overboard early in the trip, but it only would have had a range of about 25 miles under the best of conditions. They also had a marine VHF radio, but it would only have had a range about the same of a cell phone. And then there was their satellite phone which should have been able to call anyplace in the world. That means they had their EPIRB, cell phone, VHF radio and their satellite phone. They could have had a single sideband marine radio which should have had a night time range of 2,000 miles. That is only five, but maybe they had two of one of the devices.
Their engine got wet in the storm and would not start so they just sailed. But then a bolt bent on the spreader — a metal piece crossway half way up the mast to which the shrouds are attached — so they decided it was too weak to support the mast. That meant no sail, so they just drifted.
Now my wife, Judy, and I are no sailors, but we did help crew a 56-foot ketch…