Stranded Cape May Boaters’ Survival Story
There might be a really great documentary to be made about the Cape May boaters who were lost at sea. After they were saved by a Dutch ship, the boaters told a story that one could only think would be a fictional movie.
With winter coming in quickly, 64-year-old Captain Kevin Hyde wanted to move his boat from Cape May New Jersey down to the warmer waters of Marathon, Florida.
Hyde asked his friend, 76-year-old Joe DiTommasso to come for the journey to keep him company. Alongside the two was a smaller dog named Minnie.
The three of them were going on this adventure in Hyde’s 30-foot Catalina sailboat named the Atrevida II. This boat had a bluish-purple hull, a white superstructure, and white sails.
This route down to Florida is one that is fairly common. Thousands of boaters travel it yearly and is one of the main reasons why the Intracoastal Waterway was created.
Boaters who take this route know that if you follow roughly the same headings, you can get from Cape May to Florida in three to four days.
The Atrevida II set sail on November 27th with planned stops along the way which would make their trip closer to ten days.
Reports had the crew leaving Oregon Inlet, North Carolina after stopping for a few days. This is where things started to go wrong.
As they let port the blue skies that had followed them from New Jersey had quickly turned into rough seas and heavy winds.
“I never heard wind so bad in my whole life,” said DiTommasso who described the wind as the ‘devil.’
The heavy winds caused their fifty (50) foot mast to come crashing down leaving them at the mercy of the sea.
Hyde said that without the sails they “were being pushed out to sea further and future.” For the next ten days, the two of them and Minnie were being dragged by the ocean’s current not sure where they were headed.
Since there was no mast, they were unable to turn the hydro generator. This is the equipment that produces electricity during navigation from the flow of water.
With no electricity, they were unable to use their radio or navigational equipment.
By December 11th the Coast Guard Fifth District was called due to a no-show of the boat.
Along with the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy’s Second Fleet and commercial vessels started a search that covered over 21,164 square miles.
Two days later they would reach out to the public asking for any tips and extend their search to off the coast of New Jersey.
The tanker vessel Silver Muna was en route to New York Harbor after it left Amsterdam, Netherlands on November 30th.
After hearing the call they helped in the search and spotted the Atrevida II just 214 miles east of Delaware.
The Captain of the Silver Muna, Neeraj Chaudhary, said that his crew member had spotted the boat but they “didn’t receive any distress signal” from the boat.
If it wasn’t for that crew member tasing a red flag to the captain, then DiTommasso and Hyde wouldn’t have been saved.
Hyde said the Silver Muna was “probably the last ship that would have been able to find” them.
Once spotted, it took them three hours to get them on the ship since the only equipment they had to get them on was a cargo net.
Captain Chaudhary said that ‘he was crying’ and was thanking his God for these men being safe.
It turned out that the Atrevida II crew had no food left and were just drinking the last of their water.
The Silver Muna continued on its planned route to New York City where they met up with the Coast Guard to pass over DiTommasso and Hyde.
Both the men and Minnie were cleared by medical staff before being released to their families.
The video below, filmed from the Silver Muna crew, shows the Atrevida II they moved closer towards it.