Tara drug the small rubber dinghy from the surf onto the sand and turned to the ocean behind her just in time to catch the final glimpse of her beloved sailboat’s mast as it sunk.
Single-handing is risky, even for an experienced sailor such as Tara. Safety was always her top priority and she had double-checked the paper and electronic charts before venturing slowly into the island’s cove to take shelter from the storm closing in on her stern. Nothing prepared her for the loud crunch and sudden hard stop when her keel struck the reef. She was thrown forward, hitting her head and wrenching an ankle, but quickly gathered her wits and assessed the situation. Water was gushing into the cabin below, faster than the automatic bilge pump could empty. She grabbed the hand-held radio, ditch bag with her important documents and a few precious mementos, and went on deck to deploy the life raft. With one last glance at her home of over a decade, she abandoned ship.