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Crazy Mike's Sailing Adventure

A sailing tale you won't believe of Telemgon 2's sailing trip from Guatemala to Texas.

Crazy Mike from sailboat Telemgon Mike Bennet,  s/v Telemgon 2

An email from Crazy Mike to his friends after an adventurous sail from Guatemala to Texas...

Hola from Texas, sorry it’s been so long emailing.  I left Livingston, Guatemala on October 30th.  Day 1 had good wind.  After that I had to motor sail every day.  Wind on the nose.  What else would you expect? Anchored every night, till I got to Caye Caulker, Belize.  Ran aground for 6 hours at Caye Caulker.  Local launcha got me off.  No charge.

Took south cut through the reef.  When I hit Mexican water I finally got good wind.  Running 6 knots plus with the current.  Not bad seas.  Just south of Bay de la Ascension, I tacked east to clear the mainland.  Was looking good so I laid down and let the wind vane steer.  Next thing, I woke up to a thump.  Scrambling on deck, I see I am bow in on a beach.  Wind had switched direction and I blind sailed through a 50-yard opening in the reef.  Put the outboard on the dinghy.  Got stern anchor out.  Untied dinghy, and was immediately swamped.  Using 5-gallon bucket I got ahead of the waves filling the dink.  Put outboard back on Telemgon.  Used swim fins and dinghy to set the anchor.  Got off the beach.  Was still pointing directly at it so I dug out second anchor to pull bow around.  Just as I was ready to deploy, God sent a squall, which pushed my bow out towards the reef.  Being excited, I fired up the engine and sucked the second anchor line around the prop.  So then I got to dive and cut away the line … twice.  Finally set second anchor.  Got bow pointed towards the reef.  Got in dinghy to retrieve the first anchor, which was hung behind the coral head.  I sliced my foot up on the coral head.  Finally got the boat away from the beach at daylight.  Motored over a forest of coral heads and through the reef opening. 

Getting into 40’ of water, I hoist sails.  Whereupon the main sail halyard outer cover separated.  With sails up, I headed for Isla Mujeres.  Arrived Isla Mujeres, November 08, anchor down 9:30 pm.  Spent 8 days in Isla Mujeres fighting coral infection.  Left Isla Mujeres, November 17, 9:00 am.  November 19 at 10am I am dealing with 15’ seas.  Broached twice.  First time no drop boards in.  Took water in cabin.  Secured from that.  Laid down.  Second broach.  Emptied port rail of all stored items firmly onto me, breaking a glass jar on my head.  Good think my head was harder than the glass.  Seas lasted around 12 hours.  After that normal sailing conditions. 

On Monday, November 24, weather radio alerted me to arctic front coming down that night.  Secured for heavy seas.  Had storm jib as only sail before dark.  At 8pm the front hit, went from 3 knots to 6.5 knots in less than 5 minutes.  60 knot sustained winds with higher gusts and 10 foot breaking seas that lasted 16 hours.  And, of course, I am in the middle of a bunch of platforms.  Temperatures down in the high 30’s by am.  Found out I had a tough little boat.  Was very very concerned that the boat was not going to hold.  With safety harness, life vest, and flares all at the ready, I gave my position to a supply boat just to cover my ass, as I had to go through numerous oil platforms.  Of course, he asked a very simple question. “What in the Hell are you doing out here?” 

Anchor came loose and was beating the hull for 10 hours.  Breaking seas over the cabin were pouring inside the boat.  Burning the propane stove, I was sitting in jeans, long johns and slicker soaking wet.  I was talking to my Captain “GOD” asking for this to slow down.  The hardest thing to do was absolutely nothing.  With the storm jib back-winded and tiller tied over, I was running 6.5 knots.  In beam seas, heading approximately 270 degrees, but GPS coarse varied from 190 to 300 degrees. 

At daylight the seas did not seem as ferocious as the human mind made them in the dark.  By 3pm I was able to tack 180 degrees towards Sabine Pass as I had sailed past my waypoint.  By dark I had a workable heading to the northwest.  Wind dropped my speeds down to 2 knots.  I am 50 miles from Sabine Jetties.  Many more platforms are in my path.  My boat and my ass had been hammered.  Finally had to sleep as at approximately 3 am I was hearing voices and screaming at inanimate objects. 

Of course the alarm clock broke again.  I awoke approximately 8 am and I am 2 miles from jetties.  Traffic coming past.  I adjust coarse to the jetties.  Took 10 hours to cover 13 miles, as my engine had quit during the night.  5:30 pm on November 26, I tie to the dock.  Goal #1 completed:  getting to shore.  I start on goal #2:  getting drunk.  But hey guys, I made it!!!

Items lost or broken:

  • 1 whisker pole
  • 1 dodger
  • 1 dinghy
  • 1 engine
  • 1 main sail
  • 1 clean cabin
  • 1 dry wardrobe all flash lights charged batteries
  • “1 set of balls” my own.

The boat as it came from the factory is still basically in tact.

Telemgon 2 is a tough little @$!% of a boat, and I am one very lucky sailor.  Looks like it might be a while before she gets put back to sea.

Sorry I was slow emailing back.  But look at all of the neat @$!%, that you would not have heard about.

Keep the stick in the air and keel off the bottom.  Take my advice, I did not use it.

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