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Saturday, October 27, 2007

November 27, 1998, The Night Julie Black Died

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
50 Kts

We had survived a bad storm earlier and safely made port in Opua, New Zealand in November 1998.

After a few days of cleaning up and drying out the boat we went out into the Bay of Islands and anchored in Opunga Cove. Then another storm developed and on this day, November 27,1998, we heard that the storm was coming and the wind was expected to be strong overnight. It was; by nightfall we had 50 knots.

Some time after midnight the radio crackled to life with traffic between the NZ Air Sea Rescue and a ship out in the storm: The ship had just sighted the sailboat Salacia, reported in distress with two people aboard, Mike Fritz and Julie-Ann Black, both friends of ours, and they were going to try to rescue them.

Before the night was over Mike was safely aboard the ship but Salacia was sunk and Julie was lost. I sat up at Wings' nav station straining to hear each radio transmission. Listening as that rescue attempt unfolded was one of the most gripping and heart rendering hours of my sea-going life.

Read the full account here.

Fred Roswold, SV Wings, Singapore

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