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it can happen, and it did

We grabbed this excerpt from this lengthy and frightening story…

The wind remained stiff and we were slightly overpowered – but fast – and decide not to gybe past the buoy but instead tack back. We would then drop the jib and keep the main up as we always do when entering or leaving a harbor, to ensure a sail up in the event of motor issues. Spinnaker sheets lay inboard and coiled, genoa sheets on the winches, we crossed the line, came up to the wind, dropped the jib and started the motor.
Engaging in gear the motor suddenly cut out – probably something wrapped on the prop. We could either fall off toward the beach and shallower water, or try to come up and catch the breeze on the port side. For the latter Raymond went forward to unclip and hoist the jib. With the jib up we slowly made way but had little steerage, each wave knocking the bow back, until we felt the unmistakable, heart-dropping thud of keel touching sand. Soon anther bump, stronger, and then several more jolts, still not enough drive from the sails to pull ahead and each wave set pushing us further toward the beach.
We elected to drop sails to lessen the load — Raymond went forward to pull down the jib and I began to drop the main. A big wave rolled us flat and I saw Raymond tossed overboard, but more alarmingly, the bow swung over where he had fallen in. Looking over the low side rail I spotted him in the water, life vest inflated, and grabbed the cockpit VHF (ship radio) and called in my first and hopefully last Mayday. It was not exactly the practiced call we rehearse during our training sessions – the first part interrupted as we rolled over again and I tumbled back to the low side, followed by a somewhat more breathless second part.
While recovering my footing and handholds I saw Raymond laying on his back, gracefully sculling with his arms as if on a holiday dip, but also several surfers — who only a few months earlier suffered the tragic loss of five friends in this same spot, swiftly paddling to his rescue…