Originally published in Sail World Magazine.
The sun had finally peeked 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.
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