Atlantic Crossing

Atlantic Crossing

Jan 11, 2024

Arriving in the Azores to add our boat name to the collection of the others in the harbour

Reader Tales

Canadian Boating occasionally sends out surveys so we can develop the editorial that will deliver the best possible read for our audience. When we did that recently, we also invited you, our readers, to send along some stories and anecdotes. We were extremely impressed by the response and the quality of your submissions.

The first of those submissions was published last issue. This time, a VERY extraordinary experience!

 Look for more in your upcoming OnBoard issues:

We were crossing the Atlantic en route from Bermuda to the Azores when a voice suddenly boomed out of the VHF radio, “IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE?” We responded that we were, and the captain of a commercial fishing vessel out of Maine went on to tell us that one of his crewmen had a severe toothache and did we have any medication onboard that might help?

Rough seas crossing the Atlantic Ocean the afternoon before meeting the fishing boat that night

We said we did but we couldn’t change course direction as it was strong winds and high seas and we needed to keep up a steadying sail and maintain our course direction. “No problem,” replied the captain. “We’ll come find you!” We gave him our approximate coordinates (this was pre-GPS), turned on our masthead strobe light, slowed our speed as much as possible and waited.

About an hour later we looked behind us to see a large fishing vessel looming out of the darkness bucketing along with all lights on deck blazing and water streaming from the bow and rigging. It was an incredibly dramatic and somewhat frightening sight…

“He’s not coming alongside,” I said fearful of the damage that could be done. We put all the medication into a Ziplock bag and then into two more plastic bags and tied it to an empty plastic pop bottle and cast it into sea behind us. They stood on deck casting a grappling hook towards the bag of medication and quickly faded into darkness.

The morning after the encounter when the seas had died down

A few minutes later, the voice on the other end of the radio shouted, “We got it and he said his lips are feeling numb already!” He stayed on the radio chatting about his life seeking the big fish in deep waters until we moved out of radio contact. We sure had an interesting story to tell everyone back home in Mississauga the next day!

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