inReach: Fletcher Family Saved in North Atlantic Ocean
JANUARY 9, 2017
Just recently the Fletcher family of the S/V Luna-C were rescued in the North Atlantic Ocean. This was only possible because of their inReach satellite communicator. Here’s Linda Fletcher describing the stressful experience in her own words.
We were trying to get to the Caribbean and started having troubles our second day out (from Beaufort, NC) when we lost our engine. The next to go was our Genoa foresail. It ripped and had to be replaced in the middle of the Gulf Stream. This took us five hours due to the heaving seas. We were also taking on a lot of water. Our solar panels were barely keeping up with the bilge pump and night navigation lights. Mother Nature was against us! We decided to turn back, but had no luck with the weather (unfavorable winds).
We decided to let someone know of our situation and did this with our inReach. We had BoatUS tow insurance and were trying to find out how close we had to be to be towed back in to shore. Our contact got a hold of BoatUS, who got a hold of the USCG, who contacted the Cargo Vessel, Jennifer Schepers, who altered their course to see if we needed help.
At that point, we declined help thinking that we would be able to ‘limp back’ to the states with any luck. That’s when the captain advised us of the weather forecast, which were winds at 40 knots, gusting 50 and 20-foot seas. We then decided to abandon ship, knowing we would never live through it. I’m sure our vessel didn’t make it through the night.
That’s when the fun began! Our family on board consisted of my parents, Albert and Annie Fletcher, both age 76, myself, Linda Fletcher, age 53, my son, Michael Stewart, age 20, and our loving dog Yoda. My mother had recently had both knees replaced, so when they dropped a Jacob’s ladder six stories to our deck we knew that she could never make the climb alone. My son made the first trip to let the crew know that she couldn’t make it. The first to be rescued was our dog, Yoda. I was next. All the while, our boat was slamming into their vessel with our mast slamming a mere 2′ from the ladder (closer at times). Everything we tied to on our boat immediately ripped from the deck and became a projectile.
The crew onboard the Jennifer Schepers sent down a harness for my mother. She got the harness on and they heaved her onto the ladder, followed by my son, and finally my father. My son made another trip to retrieve a bag of belongings.
Rereading what I have wrote, this all seems pretty tame, but I assure you this was the most terrifying night of my life!! I just wanted you to know that your product saved our lives and to thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”
We are so grateful that the Fletchers made it home safely and we hope this story will justify the importance of having an inReach. No matter where your adventure takes you, inReach can help you share and protect your life anywhere in the world. From a simple “I love you” message to an urgent SOS trigger, inReach keeps you connected and safe anywhere in the world when outside of cell phone range.
Join the adventure and share your stories with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram using #HaveNoLimits or #inReachLife.