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Thursday, September 10, 2009

After Over 8,000 Miles And 2 ½ Months Docking In Approximately 1 Hour For Landstuhl Regional Medical Center ! ! !

Ralph via SAT phone (transcribed)
After more than 8,000 miles and 2 ½ months of travel, the smallest power boat that has ever crossed the Atlantic Ocean will be docking for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in approximately 1 hour!


  1. This time, I was driving. For hours we were weaving in and out around big cargo barges, sometimes they were double tankers. Most of the night,it was dark, the moon never showed it's face. When passing through cities, the whole sky was lit and it was a joy to be ripping across the water. We were the fastest boat on the water, or let's say, no one passed us unless we were idling looking at a map or something.

    Early in the morning, while I was staying wide, leaving plenty of room for the blurry barges(my eyes were tired from the wind, rain and mist, lack of sleep, and I think I need distance glasses, especially at night),I heard the most horible sound followed by the boat slowing in rapid serges. I immediately went for the engine trim switch to lift the motor out of the water. Remember, we were traveling as fast as we could at 4800 rpm. We were going 22 knots (about 25 plus mph)and the grinding noise lasted for seconds. While I was looking backwards watching the motor slowly rise up, it was serging and throwing water everywhere trying to make a new path through solid rock. All I could think of was that we just lost the lower unit and I was driving, it was my fault, why were we driving when it was so black out that we could hardly see past the front of the boat except for the silowet (sp)of an ever changing tree line and a glimmer of where water met shore. That's right, we were going like mad men on a mission, that is to say, get to the yatch club before 9:00 am for a supposed press conference.

    We had to pole the boat into deeper water. With Ralph and I in the back of the boat,we were stuck. When Ralph went to the front, we were able to move. Slowly we inched out to deeper water. I had shut off the motor before we slid to a stop. In deeper water before lowering the motor, Ralph took a look at one side of the prop. It looked ok, just a little roughed up.

    When the motor was put in forward, the motor sloshed water everywhere and the motor sounded terible, it was vibrating irratically. Ralph said to see if it would run better at a higher rpm, it didn't, so we lifted the motor for a better look, this time, we noticed that we were missing two of the four blades. Our speed prop was toast. Luckily, we still had our power prop.

    Ralph did the replacement with me handing him the stuff, and off we went. Suzuki running perrrrfect! Minutes later, I hit bottom again, this time with no damage. Minutes later, I hit bottom again. I screamed, "Look how far I am from shore, we've been skirting the shoreline at this distance for tens of miles. That's it, I'm not driving till daylight!"

    Ralph started driving, and soon he hit the bottom twice also. No damage (we had already used our only spare prope and now we had both hit the bottom hard. (The Rein River is rocked bottom) Ralph decided to follow behind a big barge till light.

    In the morning, we noticed that in some places, the non-lit, non-reflective green and red bouys were so far out into the river, that there was less channel than shallow water, no wonder we were hitting bottom. We made it to our final destination and then while talking to someone, found out that small boats aren't allowed to operate on the Rein, in certian areas, without a radar and other special navagitional equipment. Ops!!!!

    Bob Brown

  2. I justlooked at the power prop on the boat. It is really in bad shape. We were really lucky that it did not break. The outer edges are all bent and jaged. We were really lucky. Bob Brown

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