At SA, we don’t have many heroes in this sport, but one man who we have always admired for his resolute determination in his singlehanded adventures has been Webb Chiles. Here he offers a little commentary on this story:
Thunderstorms have been rolling through here since yesterday afternoon. Last night one of them caught three men in a small sailboat out on Lake Michigan. The boat capsized. The men went into 40ºF/4.5ºC water. That’s a death sentence. And would have been except for the exceptional actions of the wife of one of the men. I heard about this on the morning news and found a few more details online. No names have been given.
The woman telephoned her husband to warn him that severe weather was approaching. Frankly thunderstorms had been forecast and he should have known anyway. I would not have gone sailing late yesterday. When subsequent calls went unanswered, she drove to the marina–one of those in the city of Chicago–got a power boat and rounded up two other people to go with her and went out to search. In approaching darkness, she located the capsized boat and the three men in murky freezing water a half mile offshore. She and her helpers pulled them out–not an easy task–and took them ashore, where the woman called 911. It is estimated that the men were in the water at least thirty minutes. One man refused treatment. Another was hospitalized in at least fair condition. The woman’s husband, aged 62, was suffering from severe hypothermia and hospitalized in serious condition.
I think this is one of those things where the more experience you have around boats and the water, the more impressed you are by this woman. I know I am.
(Btw, we’ll have a feature on Webb’s newest project next week – ed)