Sailboat Sinks, Sad End To The Dream...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MonacoMike, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    97 270DA 5k Kohler A/C,
    85 Monaco 197
    7.4 300hp BII,
    260hp Alpha 1

    MADEIRA BEACH — Tanner Broadwell and Nikki Walsh dreamed the same dream: Give up the rat race, go live on a sailboat, see the Caribbean, maybe the world.

    They sold everything they owned in Colorado. Last year they bought a 28-foot sailboat in Alabama and headed for Tarpon Springs. They lived at the marina for months, getting the Lagniappe ready for their journey. They said their goodbyes on Tuesday and set sail for Key West.

    The next day, the dream died in John’s Pass.

    The Lagniappe sank Wednesday night while sailing into this fishing village-turned-tourist stop. Their former home sits capsized, within sight of the bars and restaurants. Their belongings floated off to who knows where.

    Before they abandoned ship, Walsh grabbed their social security cards, some cash, his ID and her phone — and Remy, their 2-year-old Pug.

    They have no jobs, no savings and nowhere to go.

    "I sold everything I had to do this," Broadwell said, "and I lost everything in a matter of 20 minutes."

    • • •

    Walsh, 24, grew up in Philadelphia. She dreamed of living in a highrise. Then she met Broadwell.

    The 26-year-old was from Cocoa Beach with a knack for selling. Their boss flew him to Philadelphia. They were friends at first, then they became more. He was sent to Breckinridge, Colo., to market timeshares.

    "We got so tired of that lifestyle," he said, "of doing things to make people do the things they don’t want to do."

    So they started saving their money. He Ubered. They spent two years planning, and then finally did it. They sold everything they owned, even his sport-utility vehicle. In April they bought a 1969 Columbia sailboat in Alabama for $5,000, then spent that much fixing the 49-year-old boat.

    They named it the Lagniappe (pronounced lanny-yap), Creole for bonus. "Like the 13th donut in a dozen," Broadwell said. "It’s something extra for you."

    They had no sailing experience. His father helped them sail along the Gulf Coast, from Alabama to Panama City. That’s how the couple learned how to sail.

    They reached Tarpon Springs in May. They docked at Mar Marina, where Broadwell got a job. They worked on the hull, rewired the boat and got it ready for their journey.

    "We met a bunch of good people," he said. "Everybody gave us a nice farewell off the docks."

    They set sail Tuesday, anchoring off Anclote Key. The next day they passed by Clearwater Beach and made their way to John’s Pass to dock for the night.

    Then it all went wrong.

    • • •

    It was about 8:45 p.m. when they sailed into a new port, navigating a channel they had never sailed before, in the dark, fog rolling in.

    Broadwell steered while Walsh stood at the bow, lighting their path with a spotlight, trying to figure out the navigational buoys. But the red and green buoys seemed out of place, they said, and the shoal wasn’t where their 2016-17 navigational charts said it should be. Had Hurricane Irma altered the channel?

    Then it happened: The Lagniappe struck something underwater. Walsh almost flew off the deck.

    Waves rolled the sailboat. It dipped from side-to-side, almost going under. Broadwell realized the keel had been ripped off the bottom.

    Water started to leak into the cabin. They put their life jackets on (Remy, too.) Walsh dialed Sea Tow, the AAA of the marine world.

    "My hands are shaking," she said. "I know I probably sounded like a crazy person to them. I’m stuttering trying to talk to them.

    "They said they would be there in 40 minutes. I thought ‘That is a long time to spend out here.’"

    Walsh ran into the flooded cabin and grabbed what little she could. The crash had thrown their things onto the floor. Now their stuff was floating.

    "I’m just standing there in awe," she said. "I just lost everything I ever owned. I see my things floating away and I can’t get to them."

    Sea Tow arrived about an hour later, and just in time. The Lagniappe was sinking in about 9-feet of water and about to roll over. It was too shallow for the tow boat to approach and get them off the sailboat

    Abandon ship. The couple had to jump into the water.

    • • •

    The rest of the night is a blur. Stranded on the side of the road with no help, some cash and no credit cards. Broadwell’s mother found them an Uber driver kind enough to spend hours helping them find a cheap motel room.

    "How do I have everything," Walsh said, "and end up in a s----- hotel with nothing?"

    Thursday morning, the cavalry started arriving.

    "People came out of nowhere," Walsh said. "Everyone just started showing up to help us."

    Their new friends in Tarpon Springs drove down to help. Broadwell’s mother arrived from Jacksonville.

    They had no insurance. Nor will the Lagniappe ever sail again. It’s blue hull sticks out of the water in low tide.

    In fact, the Coast Guard told the couple they need to get their boat out of there. It could cost up to $10,000 to remove and store it. They have about $90.

    They lost everything save for the shirts on their backs — well, one shirt. Broadwell wasn’t wearing a shirt when he jumped ship.

    "I woke up today and I was like ‘I don’t have that,’" he said Friday, "or anything I had."

    They’re relying on family and friends right now to get by. They just got some new clothes and shoes from Walmart. They have no idea how they’ll pay to remove their boat, or even where they’ll live.

    Broadwell said they didn’t have much to begin with. "Why do you think we wanted to live on a boat?"

    They might stay with his mother, then float around the state looking for work. They’re still figuring it out. But they’re still alive, and so is the dream.

    "I’m not going to give up now," Broadwell said. "I’m going to get another boat down the road."

    "We can’t just give up on our dreams," Walsh said.

    Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Jamal Thalji at Follow @jthalji.
  2. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    97 270DA 5k Kohler A/C,
    85 Monaco 197
    7.4 300hp BII,
    260hp Alpha 1
    I truly do feel sadness for their loss, BUT, there are so many things wrong in their story it defies any logic.

    What is the participation trophy for this?

    They have no money to raise the vessel, but they were going to "see the Caribbean, maybe the world" on a 50 year old 28 foot vessel.

    Mid-20's are burnt out and ready to get out of the "rat race"

    I will not contribute to their "other people should fund our cruise account".

    So much more. ADD is welcome to defend them...

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
    Michael Mirra likes this.
  3. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge Raymarine E120 radar chart plotter GPS autopilot
    cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    Roger that! I pity them for not having the sense to realize their pipe dream was unrealistic. Problem with a lot of millennials, they don’t understand the concept of working hard to achieve goals. They just feel entitled to live their dreams and someone else will pick up the tab. Truely a sad story.
  4. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    It used to be a VW mini van but at least you had a drivers license. Wonder if they had a boating course.
    We have seen people like this from time to time. They try to stay for free on government docks some times and wonder why the rangers are so unkind. On one trip north two sail boats waited off the dock until the ranger left for the night then landed. We asked why they did not land earlier. Comment was they did not want to pay. People told them the ranger would get them in the morning. The sail people said they would leave before the ranger arrived in the morning.
    Is there any law that you need insurance on a boat like a car? Some marines are now asking for proof of insurance.
  5. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    I couldn't agree more , Mike. I saw this story yesterday and I'm truly sorry for their experience but there is no one, let me repeat, no one to blame but themselves. And in their 20s they were tired of working, saved and sold everything and all they could muster was 10 grand?!?!? I'm not sure who is the dumbest here....him for not being better prepared or her for believing in this schmuck, or their parents for not talking them out of it. His father helped them sail from somewhere in Alabama to Panama City. That would be 100-150 miles, 6-8 hours. Then Dad declares they are now experienced enough to sail open water? What Dad should have done in Panama City is popped a couple of caps thru the hull and scuttled the boat telling his son he was saving his life as he is too stupid for this adventure.

    Those old mid to late 60's Columbias were pretty stout boats. There must have been something structurally wrong with it to have "ripped the keel off the bottom." Should have been found in survey....oh wait, a millennial would not have a survey done. Idiots....
  6. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    Every article and many of the comments I've read about this place great emphasis on the romance and adventure of "following one's dream" and "leaps of faith" and yada yada. Very little has been said about planning ahead, making common sense decisions, deferring gratification for the sake of preparation, etc.

    One can only hope these young idiots came out of this with newfound wisdom (as we all have, from time to time). Alas, if they use gofundme to pay for the consequences, as opposed to personal sacrifice, I am not optimistic for their future.
  7. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    97 270DA 5k Kohler A/C,
    85 Monaco 197
    7.4 300hp BII,
    260hp Alpha 1
    We had some folks from our marina actually do that dream. They had a several hundred thousand dollar sailboat, spent three years on Lake Michigan learning the boat and systems while spending another $100K to add the equipment they would need for such a journey.

    After such meticulous planning and great expense, there were still system failures and harrowingly close calls in unpredictable seas

    b_arrington likes this.
  8. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    Tough crowd....sounds like you guys would have never left the continent of Africa and to this day the rest of the world would have remained unfound.
    M Prod likes this.
  9. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    97 270DA 5k Kohler A/C,
    85 Monaco 197
    7.4 300hp BII,
    260hp Alpha 1
    I presume that below that proverbial coast of Africa the remains of poorly equipped vessels rotted away...

  10. scoflaw

    scoflaw Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Aug 10, 2011
    cape cod mass
    1999 Powerquest legend 260 sx
    502 mpi Bravo 1
    Maybe you forget the limitations of a 20' boat. Newb or not, anyone with any common sense wouldn't travel too far in that rig.
  11. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    No, Woody, we'd have left Africa, but we'd have done more planning, gotten together more cash, bought a boat that was seaworthy and waited until we were ready to cast off.

    We'd have kept the dream alive until the proverbial stars aligned and then we'd have enjoyed a trip that we had earned. Not just a pipe dream trip.
    bobeast, b_arrington, Ezsteps and 2 others like this.
  12. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    Unfair Woody. No one condemned their sense of adventure. We're attacking everything else. Be honest....would you attempt what they did? I don't think so. Hell we have people on this forum that do more preparation for a weekend on Catalina Island.
    Jetgod likes this.
  13. importmonkey

    importmonkey Opinionated Member SILVER Sponsor GOLD Sponsor

    Jul 9, 2015
    Middle River, MD
    2007 44 Sundancer
    QSC 500s
    Now that's just racist! ;)
  14. ZZ13

    ZZ13 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Nov 25, 2009
    Lady's Island, SC
    2001 400 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 450 Diamond
    I don't find it a sad story. They tried something in their early-mid 20s and it didn't work out. Lots and lots of people do that at that age. Heck I was only a few years younger than them when I graduated college with absolutely nothing to my name and hunting for a job.
  15. ZZ13

    ZZ13 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Nov 25, 2009
    Lady's Island, SC
    2001 400 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 450 Diamond
    How do you know? You are far removed from your early 20's and many years of experience and wisdom ingrained in your culture to be thorough and complete. I know 35 years ago I didn't know what I didn't know and learned a lot of stuff the hard way.
  16. Bop

    Bop Member

    Sep 3, 2013
    Georgian Bay/Lake Huron
    2001 410 Express, Highfield DL350 w/40hp Yamaha
    Cat 3126
    They are in their mid 20's. Why do they need money from anyone to "fund their dream"? Just start working like the rest of the planet. It's not like they lost everything with no chance to recover. I'm sure I sound insensitive but c'mon.
  17. hillsideshortleg

    hillsideshortleg Member

    Feb 5, 2012
    Lake Pend Orielle, Idaho
    89 Sea Ray 280 Sundancer
    2 350's Mercruiser drives
    How can I find that go fund me page? I would like to start one for my business that didn't turn out like I had dreamed.
    Captn TJ and joeyleggz like this.
  18. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    See what you did MM?
    Charlesoceanone and joeyleggz like this.
  19. be_prepared

    be_prepared Member GOLD Sponsor

    Oct 12, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2002 Sea Ray Sundancer 340DA
    Twin Mercruiser Horizon 8.1 inboards
    You put everything you have into a boat, and don't insure it?
    Jetgod likes this.
  20. Espos4

    Espos4 Active Member

    Jan 1, 2017
    Long Island NY
    2007 240 Sundeck
    350 MAG Bravo 3 W/DTS

    To me, this one excerpt speaks volumes to their lack of preparation.
    One should always were a life jacket on the water, ESPECIALLY in conditions such as described above

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