Tags Posts tagged with "Catamaran"


Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

A three-year-old golden retriever, missing for two weeks, was pulled out of Barnegat Bay Wednesday by two blessed souls. I know how that golden feels. I was pulled out of Port Jefferson Harbor Sunday and was I ever grateful.

I’ll tell you the whole story.

My family is visiting, finally, as the pandemic fades. That includes three sons, three daughters-in-law, one granddaughter, two grandsons, (the third was working), one dog and two cats. Sunday late afternoon we noted the arrival of what sailors call “the cocktail breeze,” and to enjoy it, three of us went out in the harbor on a 16-foot Hobie Cat. The catamaran is little more than two pontoons connected by a sturdy webbing on which passengers sit. There is a mainsail and a jib, and the light craft really flies across the water. But there is no motor, only an oar in case the wind dies down, and we have to row ourselves back to shore-hardly a desirable state of affairs, as you can imagine.

So, there we were, happily zipping along, when the breeze turned into a sudden gust, caught us off guard, and lifted one pontoon out of the water. I was sitting above the other, and I saw the colorful mainsail rising up like a wall and coming toward me. The abrupt knot in the pit of my stomach confirmed that we were about to capsize. That had never before happened with this boat. I braced for a shock.

To my pleasant surprise, the water temperature, while not warm, was more comfortable than I expected for so early in the season. And while I was wearing a life vest, I had casually closed only the top couple of toggles, so the vest rode up to the level of my chin, pinning the edge of my broad-brimmed hat that had come askew in front of my eyes. While I knew I was in the water, I couldn’t see a thing.

It took us several minutes to sort ourselves out, my son, daughter-law and myself. We worked to untangle ourselves as we clung to the side of one of the overturned pontoons. Then the boat became caught in a mooring into which the wind had blown us. We hoped one of the two motor boats that came along would stop to help. They passed us by, but one slowed down to take a video of us struggling in the water.

It is hard to right a catamaran, and in the sudden heavy wind, it proved impossible.

“Maybe we should call for help,” my daughter-in-law suggested, and proceeded to do just that.

Fortunately Evelyn and Greg Haegele, in their sailboat aptly named “Necessity” heard us and slowly approached. My children were most concerned with getting me to safety and up the swim ladder that Greg had thrown over the side, my daughter-law helping me swim over to their boat. My son calling out my age with concern in his voice.

It was not easy to climb the six steps in my sopping wet clothes, but as they say at NASA, failure was not an option.

Then Greg passed his sunglasses to his wife and made a beautiful dive to swim over and help right the Hobie. Together they were successful despite the strong wind.

As my children clambered back aboard and sailed off, a police boat, followed by a fire boat dashed after them, checking to see if all was well. It seems some alert person in a waterfront home in Belle Terre, witnessed the mishap and called 911.

Meanwhile the Haegeles took me back to Port Jefferson via the launch service and then drove me home, a drenched dog.

Marine Bureau officers rescued two teens from an overturned boat and brought them and the boat back to shore. Photo from SCPD

Police and a good Samaritan had to step in when a boat overturned in the Long Island Sound on Saturday, leaving two teens floating on the upside-down craft for more than an hour.

The good Samaritan located the 19-year-olds at about 11:30 a.m., when they had already been floating on the boat’s hull for roughly 90 minutes, the Suffolk County Police Department said. The person used a VHF radio to contact the department’s Marine Bureau and provide the boat’s location.

According to police, Smithtown residents Douglas Botto and Eric Damn were wearing life jackets after the 16-foot Hobie Cat catamaran they were sailing overturned on the Long Island Sound, between 2.5 to 3 miles north of the Nissequogue River. The waves in that area were 3 to 5 feet high, preventing the teens from righting the boat.

Police said Marine Bureau officers David Goldstein and Michael Cappiello aboard Marine Delta and officers Keith Walters and Paul Carnival aboard Marine Bravo responded to the scene and rescued the adrift pair, bringing them back to Long Beach in Smithtown and towing in the boat.

U.S. Coast Guard personnel were also on the scene, police said.