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billyruffn 11-15-2010 10:26 AM

Sinking of Rule 62
I received this morning via email the sad news of the sinking of the sailboat Rule 62 on a reef in the northern Bahamas. As you will read below, three of the four crew members have been rescued, a fourth is missing. The email was from a friend participating in the Caribbean 1500 rally, as was Rule 62. Here are the preliminary details relayed from a boat that's still at sea:


11/15/ Monday- Pray for Laura’s Rescue
With this morning’s report we were shocked to hear about the sinking of “Rule 62” a 45’ Jeanneau in the cruising class. Around 9pm last night they attempted to enter a narrow cut into the Bahama’s in the midst of a “rage.” If I understand correctly it means the current is going in one direction and wind and surge in another creating a lot of turbulence. It’s unclear if a large wave knocked them down or if it was making contact with a reef. All 4 crew members were thrown overboard.

We do not know if they were wearing any floatation at the time. Three crew members including the husband and wife owners made it onto a reef, the fourth crew member, Laura, is missing. An active search and rescue mission is underway by the Coast Guard and our hope and prayer is that Laura managed to stay afloat or make it onto a reef and will be spotted in the daylight. The rescued crew was taken to Nassau for treatment. The boat is considered a loss as it wrecked upon the reef. We’ve had heavy northerly swells this entire trip and it most likely was a factor, along with fatigue. We also are unclear as to whether they were originally bound for Bermuda, as some of the fleet did have that as destination, or whether they diverted because of weather or illness. Details are sketchy still, but we urge all our friends to continue to hope for a good outcome.

All boats in the Carib 1500 carry transponders, so you can see where Rule 62 went ashore at [URL=""]

Having made the trip from the east coast to the Caribbean in November twice and experienced gale force winds on both trips, I know the passage south is no walk in the park. This year the start of the Carib 1500 was delayed a week until Nov 8 due to weather associated with hurricane Tomas. The hurricane and the low pressure systems that came off the coast last week produced large seas from the north and sustained winds in the 20-30 knot range during much of the first 2/3rds of the trip. Our friends' boat experienced wind gusts above 50 knots in squalls associated with frontal passage.

I know you all will join us in praying for the missing crew member. The loss of Rule 62 is evidence to us all that offshore sailing is serious business, and that even when you prepare yourself and your boat well, tragedy can strike at a moment's notice.

bljones 11-15-2010 10:33 AM

Awwwww, crap.

This reinforces my decision to add jacklines and tethers to my inventory.

capitalistnyc 11-15-2010 10:34 AM

Our prayers go out to the crew and all involved in the rescue.

smackdaddy 11-15-2010 10:47 AM

78 Attachment(s)
Wow - that's some sobering news. Looking at their track, they pushed pretty hard to the SW as the neared Lanyard Cay. I wonder if this indicates the track of the boat after the reef strike (with no one on board) - or if it indicated something had gone wrong (e.g. - broken rudder, etc.) as they tried to enter through the cut.

Vasco 11-15-2010 11:05 AM

Lets hope they find her. A rage has been running there for a day or two. Very dangerous to try and get through the cuts in that sort of weather. here's a pic from yesterday at Guana, a cay a few mile north of Lynard Cay.

Pamlicotraveler 11-15-2010 11:17 AM


Originally Posted by bljones (Post 666901)
This reinforces my decision to add jacklines and tethers to my inventory.

Not the time for self-admiration!

bljones 11-15-2010 11:28 AM

Not self-admiration, more like "That could be me and I don't want it to be."

rockDAWG 11-15-2010 11:33 AM

I will thinking of you Laura, a safe return no less. Good luck.

Vasco 11-15-2010 11:50 AM

Here's the press release from Caribbean 1500:

Boat Positions
Daily Updates
Photo Album
CRA Home
21st Annual Caribbean 1500 Rally
Monday, November 15

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

For additional information please contact: Rick Palm….207.354.0628

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 were going to leave the fleet and divert to the Bahamas. During the Saturday 19:00 hours AST radio check-in, 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 stopped moving 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. Another crew member and Debra launched the life raft, which subsequently overturned in swells.” The boat is currently on a reef in the Bahamas. Boat owners Richard and Debra Ross along with one crew member were airlifted to safety after their emergency signal was received by the Coast Guard. The search for Laura Zekoll is still continuing.

The sailing vessel Rule 62, is part of a fleet of 71 sailing vessels, the majority of the fleet is still at sea. The fleet departed Hampton, VA on November 8, 2010 in route to the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This is the 21st year of the annual passage.

kenhoneycutt 11-15-2010 12:16 PM

A friend of mine is on the boat "Special Delivery" (Taswell 58) in the 1500. From the emails his wife has forwarded they've had a pretty rough time with 50 knot winds and some 20 foot seas. She was pretty shook up when she got the email in the OP. Sounds like the reef around Lynard Cay is difficult to navigate in broad daylight with calm seas much less at night with heavy swells.
Hope they find Laura safe and sound.

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