SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

August 29, 2012

31/2 years after man swept overboard, boat arrives in Spain

RALEIGH, N.C. — The last time Scott Douglas saw his boat, the Queen Bee, it was bobbing away from him off the coast of Nantucket Island.

A large wave in a stormy sea had swept Douglas, who owned the Queen Bee, and his brother-in-law from the 26-foot fiberglass boat and into the water on that August day in 2008. They swam about 1.5 miles to shore and assumed a fisherman must have eventually found the boat.

In January, the U.S. Coast Guard came calling with the news that the center-console fishing boat, made by North Carolina builder Regulator, had been found in Spain. Douglas and his brother-in-law, Rich St. Pierre, saw the boat yesterday in North Carolina for the first time since they were washed off it.

“To me, it’s emotional,” Douglas, 59, of Lyme, Conn., said in a telephone interview ahead of a news conference in Edenton with Regulator’s owners and others. “It’s something I’ve been compartmentalizing pretty well. I’ve not lost any sleep. I’ve not had nightmares. And I won’t after seeing the boat. But to relive that day ... the boat takes me back to that day and the experience Rich and I had.”

That day was cool, cloudy and windy. The men decided to try to get through the inlet to the Atlantic in hopes that conditions were calmer there. But they weren’t.

“We got a little careless. We took our eyes off the water,” said St. Pierre, 69. A rogue wave, 6 feet above the boat and breaking, knocked them overboard.

Three things stand out about the boat: It was found. It was in decent shape when it was found. And it was found in Spain.

Lt. Joe Klinker, spokesman for the 1st District Coast Guard in Boston, said it’s rare for a vessel to drift from the eastern U.S. coast to Europe but not impossible. He surmises that the Queen Bee traveled north into the Gulf Stream and got caught up in the currents of the North Atlantic.

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