Overboard!

Book #18: Overboard!: A True Blue-Water Odyssey of Disaster and Survival by Michael J. Tougias
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 224
Recommend (a top read of 2013)

Overboard! is the heart-wrenching, heart-stopping, riveting telling of a 2005 maritime rescue involving two sail boats. The At Ease had set sail from Chesapeake Bay with Bob Cummings and Jerry McCarthy aboard. They are heading to Charleston, SC to sail in the Charleston to Bermuda Race.

The Almeisan holds Tom Tighe (captain and owner), Loch Reidy, first mate; and a three member paying crew of Chris Ferrer, Kathy Gilcrest and Ron Burd—all experienced sailors and all ready and eager for the experience of a blue-water trip to Bermuda.

While the main thrust of the story is about the souls onboard the two sail boats, it also involves several members of the U.S. Coast Guard. Tougias weaves them into the story in a grand way and I felt the stress and concern of every member of the U.S. Coast Guard rescue teams. I worried that they would all come home alive. I found their bravery and courage incredible and encouraging.

The story wouldn’t be complete without recognizing the captain and crew of the USNS Seay. Called into action by the US Coast Guard, this ship lead a search and rescue mission of four ships. Eventually the Seay came alongside and “protected” the Almeisan. The Seay also sailed to Boston with the Sakura Express, serving as an intermediary between the Sakura Express and the US Coast Guard. A great picture, that gives you a sense of the enormity of the seas and shows the Almeisan and Seay can be found here.

One of the other ships in the S&R, was the Sakura Express (a tanker carrying jet fuel and part of AMVER). They also showed courage and tenacity in rescuing those in the water. Their care and concern with those they picked up had me in tears.

Tougias has a wonderful talent for drawing the reader into the event so that I felt as though I was on the boat, in the water, and struggling to survive. I likely would have read this story in two days time, except I found it necessary to put it down in order to breathe, relax and focus on simple, every day, stress free happy events.

A rich, wonderful telling of a difficult true-life event. I highly recommend this book, and it is one of my top-reads for 2013.

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