Details on the cause of the nasty wreck are still fuzzy, but the Jeanneau 454 DS Rule 62 went up on a reef in the Bahamas on Saturday afternoon after diverting there from the Virginia-BVI Carribbean 1500 rally a few days before. The well-known and long-running C1500 pools cruisers together to make the trip to the Caribbean a little less intimidating every year, though this year’s Hurricane Tomas caused a week’s delays to the start and snotty weather thereafter, some of which likely contributed to Debra and Richard Ross’s decision to bring Rule 62 to the Bahamas rather than sail all the way to the Virgins.
But something happened when they got near Lynard Cay – a spot that’s not easy to navigate in the middle of the day, much less at 9 PM with big surf and plenty of breeze (see pic here for similar conditions to Saturday in the Bahamas). And they hit hard, with the entire crew – the Rosses, David Sheppard, and crew Laura Zekoll were pitched into the dark sea.
Sheppard and the Rosses made it into a life raft which pitched and rolled its way to shore. But Zekoll didn’t, and this morning, the USCG called off its search of Zekoll, an expert swimmer and outdoorswoman from Atlanta who was said to be wearing a PFD.
We’ll have more for you when we can, and you can see maps, analyses, and reports in the thread here. Thanks to Evans Starzinger for the heads up.