From the Norwalk Citizen… A wannabe sailor who took a Greyhound bus from Texas to Connecticut to buy a sailboat he saw advertised online got more than he bargained for Sunday when the craft took on water three miles off Norwalk Harbor and he had to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Michael Williams first glimpsed the glossy color photo of “My Children’s Toy” on eBay days ago, and decided he had to have the 27-foot sailboat, enticed by the catchy description and rock-bottom $157.50 price tag. “There were so many people who wanted her,” Williams said in a telephone interview Sunday night. “But I got her.”
The retired trucker then had to get to “My Children’s Toy” where it was for sale in Norwalk. So, he plunked down $262 for a bus ticket and arrived in Connecticut to claim her Saturday afternoon.
When the trailer unloaded “My Children’s Toy” at a Norwalk marina, it was clear the craft wasn’t anywhere near as shipshape as depicted in its photograph. The mast and rigging were worn. There were mechanical problems seen and unseen. The dream boat, alas, was a mess.
But Williams, 55, wasn’t discouraged.
“I decided to overlook all that,” Williams said. “I knew the seller wasn’t guaranteeing anything about it. They even say so in their ads. I had to wait until the hurricane was over to come to Connecticut to get her, and I was anxious to get her out.”
The eager Williams jumped aboard early Saturday afternoon with his gear, a marine radio, his belongings and enough bologna and cheese to make sandwiches for days.
“I just sailed out of the marina on a shakedown, and if it had gone all right I planned to go (straight) to Florida with her,” Williams said. “Right away, though, there was trouble. The pin that holds the boom to the mast for the mainsail came out. And it was too dark to repair it, so I had to let the sail down.”
He dropped anchor three miles out of the harbor, where the Coast Guard says the water is 120 feet deep. The winds started kicking up. And by sunrise Sunday the waves were 4-feet high. It was hard to remain upright.
“She started taking on water,” Williams said. “There might have been a slow leak someplace, I don’t know. And the sea was real high. It was making me real sick.”
Williams donned his life jacket, and called the U.S. Coast Guard for help from his marine radio about 8:40 a.m. Sunday. Read on.