About

Hotwire Enterprises is John and Libbie. We were in Trinidad when I said to Libbie, “I’ve got an idea”. A phrase that always causes concern. I suggested we sail back to the USA and sell the KISS wind generator. Trying to get back in time for the Annapolis show, we were hit by a strong tropical wave(we hid out in Jamaica). Then (in another tropical wave) 20 miles off Ft. Myers, our mast nearly came down when the stainless fitting at the top broke. The engine had died about an hour earlier, and I was below trying to get it going when I heard what sounded like a shotgun blast above. The main sail was ripped apart when the mast sprang forward and the boom was lying on deck with the sail in the water.We had been almost four years in the Caribbean with no major problems. I was able to more or less secure the mast by moving baby stays aft. While doing so, the boat was rolling so much that the side deck and tangs would go under water, and I would have to stand up and wait for the boat to roll the other way.

We were too far offshore for anyone to hear the VHF. Our SSB back stay antenna was lying on deck. I took a 23 foot length of wire and hooked it up to the SSB/Ham radio. I was not able to contact anyone in Florida, but did get through to a radio net that was operating in Oklahoma. They contacted the Coast Guard and relayed for us. The Coast Guard said no tow operators would go out in the rough weather, and that out only option was they could send a helicopter out to take us off the boat. We declined. Although uncomfortable, our lives were not in danger. It was getting dark. We turned on all the lights (our KISS wind generator was making plenty of power), issued a pan-pan that we were adrift, and tried to sleep. A few hours later, we hear a voice on the VHF. The Coast Guard had sent a C130 out to find us. To be continued…