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Adelante is a Spanish word that means to “go forth” or “forward” and can be used as an interjection to mean “come in” or “go ahead.”  The Adelante is my friend Dan’s sailboat, and Dan has been gracious enough to invite me sailing on several occasions.  The Adelante has provided many long afternoons of laughter and happy times out on the water.

The Adelante, Race Week 2008

An intact Adelante being transferred from land to sea in 2012.

I love this photo of Meghan!

I think this is my favorite Adelante photo, complete with Meghan looking good on the mast.

High times on the high seas, Memorial Day, 2013.

 _______________

The Happiest Hour

“Have you already left your house? Slight change in plans, I’m going to come pick you up, be outside in five minutes.” Five minutes later, I was sitting on the curb on the corner of my street.  It was Friday afternoon, and I had escaped work early to join in a happy hour sail for Edie’s birthday.  Dan had the Adelante all ready to go at the city marina on Lockwood, and we were going to leave Edie’s car at the Yacht Club on East Bay.  The plan was to sail around the harbor, and dock at the Yacht Club.  It was a perfect day, with a perfect breeze.

Friday, August 8, 2013, the Adelante is ready to set sail.

Friday, August 9, 2013, the Adelante is ready to set sail.

When Dan picked me up, I suggested that we stop at the Harris Teeeter and pick up some champagne for Edie’s birthday.  He assured me that he already had two bottles in the cooler on the Adelante.  Dan is smart like that.  Edie and her brother, Brooks, were waiting on us in the parking lot of the yacht club.  I was wearing my favorite patagonia dress, and Edie said she was glad I decided to go with “sailboat cocktail” attire.  In no time, we were at the city marina, setting sail with a cold beer and a perfect breeze. I’m very much a sailing novice, but it is something I would like to learn to do.  There are a list of things I feel like you should know how to do, most of which I do not know how to do.  Drive a stick shift, sail a sailboat, clean a fish, apply a tourniquet, start a fire without matches, land a plane.  You know, life skills.  I do know how to call 911. 

When it comes to sailing, I have this fear of over correcting and knocking the sailboat over, which Dan has repeatedly assured me is not going to happen.  He says the worst that would happen is that I could knock some people into the water.  I related a story of my mother requesting that I use a life vest at all times, and Dan assured me that we had plenty of life vests in the cabin, but that he did not anticipate anyone needing one. The cooler had a couple cans of Gosling’s Dark and Stormy, and I remarked that Dan was the first person to introduce me to the Dark and Stormy.  Brooks assured me that Dan introduced the entire city of Charleston to the Dark and Stormy, and that Dan single handedly convinced all the bars that not having ginger beer available was unacceptable, and that we all have Dan to thank for the availability of this summertime staple. The conditions were perfectly breezy but the water calm, and I ended up at the helm, steering.  Everyone tried to talk me through how to head into the wind, or fall off, and a lot of other terms I still haven’t grasped, but I’m working on it.  I tried to “feel” the wind and to watch the little arrow at the top of the mast, and I tried in vain to catch the giant cargo ships in the harbor.  I was instructed on the optimum amount of boat tilt, and tried to get my sea legs.  

The trick to being at the helm, is figuring out a way to not get distracted.  It went something like this – I would get comfortable in my abilities, and start feeling confident –

Edie:  “Did you see that?  Over there?”

Me:  “Where?”

Dan:  “Charlsie!  Look Alive! What are you doing?!  Head up!  Fall off!  Agghhh!”

Me:  “Gah!  I got it!  I think, wait, I’m doing it wrong, hang on, I just spilled my beer everywhere.  Are we going to hit that boat in front of us?”

Regardless, I did well enough where no one took away my steering privilege, and when we got out past Fort Sumter and turned around, I got to yell, “Prepare to come about!  Coming about!”

Fort Sumter from the Adelante.

Fort Sumter from the Adelante.

And we turned around with no problems!  Sailing back into the harbor was easier, and Dan handled the docking of the Adelante.  It was all in all a very successful sail.  After the sail, we walked across East Bay to Edie’s friends Bo and Anne’s  house, and participated in some porch sitting, and then some kitchen congregating.  Edie left with her car to go to the mexican restaurant for Birthday Dinner, and Bo was nice enough to take Dan, Brooks, and me to the city marina to get Dan’s car. When we got to Dan’s car, we realized the keys to the car were on the boat, so we had to go by Dan’s house and get his spare set.  This was no big deal at the time.  Once we had Dan’s car, we met Edie and company at the mexican restaurant for a delicious meal.  We all went home happy and full of good food and good times.

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“If You Haven’t Run Aground, You Haven’t Been Around.” – Old sailing maxim 

Saturday afternoon, Brooks and Edie were at the beach out on Sullivans, around station 28 1/2.  Dan appeared seemingly out of nowhere, from the tidal pool.

Edie:  “Dan!  What are you doing?  Where did you come from?  Who are you with?”

Dan:  “See that commotion off shore?  The fire and rescue boat?  I was out there, and now I’m here.  Can I use your cell phone to call the coast guard?”

Turns out, the Adelante set sail on Saturday with Dan and three other friends for a fateful final voyage.  Through a series of unfortunate events, more than half a mile of the coast of Sullivans, the Adelante hit a sandbar, and the rudder broke off, and in the process of escaping the sandbar, an unknown structural imperfection was exploiting in the 35 year old boat, resulting in a crack in the keel, and a short time later the Adelante went down. Dan says that there is a persuasive technical argument to be made that the Adelante did not, strictly speaking, sink.

She just fell over.

She just fell over.

And took on some water.

And took on some water.

All crew members were left on the sandbar, in four feet of water. It was too far to swim, but a kiteboarder was able to drag all four crew members to the beach.  The news picked up the story.  I’ve been singing the Gilligan’s Island song for days.  A three hour tour, a three hour tour. http://www.wistv.com/story/23117498/stranded-boaters-saved-by-kiteboarder-off-sullivans-island?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9191035.  

The important thing to remember is that no one was seriously injured (one crew member required stitches for a leg injury), but it was a sad day. Remember Friday night when we went to get Dan’s spare set of keys from his house?  Um, yeah, so that meant that on Saturday, both sets of Dan’s key were on the Adelante.  And the Adelante was upside down, drifting into Breach Inlet.

The tourists in this photo are classic.

That’s not Dan in the foreground, in case you were wondering. Those are classic, unidentified tourists.

Shockingly enough, the dry bag washed up on the beach, along with several other personal possessions that went down with the boat, and the keys were recovered along with a couple of cell phones.  The water bottle I left in the cooler of the boat on Friday did not survive the wreckage.   Sunday, Dan and George were left with the grime task of watching the recovery of what was left of the Adelante.

Sunday recovery of the Adelante.

Sunday recovery of the Adelante.  George was there for emotional support.

Presumably a bad time to ask about the sunglasses and water bottle I left on board Friday afternoon.

The former home of the 1200 lb keel.

The former home of the 1200 lb keel.

The Friday after her last sail, the many friends of the Adelante gathered at Salty Mike’s for a farewell happy hour in memory of all the great times, and to thank Dan for sharing her with us. We all raised a Dark and Stormy in tribute, and felt lucky to have spent time on such a beautiful old boat!

Salty Mike's D & S

Salty Mike’s D & S

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