As police efforts turn from tìm kiếm to recovery, Larchmont and New Rochelle sailors and boaters ponder what was and what could have been during Sunday's unexpected squall.
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Edouard Boulat, bigbiglands.com Staff
Two days after a sudden squall wreaked havoc on the Long Island Sound, police are still searching for the missing thủ đô new york Sailing School student who fell overboard a 23-foot Sonar sailboat near Larchmont during the storm.
The student, 30-year-old Irish national và Brooklyn resident Eoin Curran, was one of four people on the boat, reports said. Another fell overboard but managed lớn get back on the boat. The instructor tried lớn pass a flotation device to Curran without any luck, reports said.
The graduate of Trinity College in Dublin was a computer programmer, Google employee & avid traveler, according to lớn public profiles on the Internet.
As more information is released about the incident, local boaters & sailors are left to lớn piece together the events of a truly chaotic afternoon, and contemplate what, if anything, could have changed the end results.
One thing that all boaters agreed on is that Sunday afternoon"s storm was one of the worst in recent history.
"The rain was coming down so hard you could barely see a person standing next to lớn you," said Blane Peloso, harbor master at the Horseshoe Harbor Yacht Club in Larchmont.
"A squall lượt thích that will lay the boat over on its side, to the point where you"re taking water in the cockpit," he said. "When you see those dark clouds, you have to lớn be more than just aware — you have to keep a close eye on everything going on with the weather."
One experienced New Rochelle boater and sailing instructor, who declined lớn give his name, was lucky to not be out on the water Sunday afternoon, although he remembers experiencing similar conditions on a past sailing trip.
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"I"ve run into a little squall where for five minutes I couldn"t see anything," he said. "When that happens the first thing you have to do is find a reference point; a rock, a buoy, anything you can."
One of his close friends, described as "an excellent sailor," was not so lucky.
"It completely tore his sail," he said. "He said the seagulls were getting thrown and knocked around in the waves. It just hit so fast."
What has really stuck with local boaters in the aftermath of the storm was the way in which the squall hit, with tremendous pace và little warning signs.
"I looked at the sky và I said, "This is a tornado sky,"" said Frank Brancaccio, who has had a boat at the New Rochelle marina for more than 20 years & was out during the area"s last major squall, around 14 years ago. "This was one storm that gave almost no warning. It"s the first storm I"ve seen that really jumped on us. You have to lớn respect the water."
Another thing boaters are in agreement over, is what should have been done aboard the boat once Sunday"s storm hit – the dropping of all sails. This would have reduced the chances of the boat tipping over, và according khổng lồ Peloso, "he probably would have been fine."
The boat in question, a Sonar, described by a number of boaters as a very good & stable teaching vessel, does carry "a lot of sail for a small boat," according to lớn Peloso, something that could have come into play in its tipping over during Sunday"s squall.
Another issue brought to the forefront by Sunday"s events is the responsiveness of boaters khổng lồ United States Coast Guard warnings. While a number of boaters and sailors stressed that a USCG warning demands an immediate return to lớn port, Peloso knows all too well that that guideline is not always followed on the water.
"Like everything else it becomes a generic report," he said. "There could be a warning and we could have nothing here in Larchmont. It"s lượt thích crying wolf, until the next the thing you it comes right through your area."
Janusz Machnica, owner of the thành phố new york Sailing School in New Rochelle, called the incident "a disaster," and believes the instructor on Curran"s boat — his most experienced staff member who was also thrown overboard during the squall — did the best he could in a very difficult situation.
The instructor in question has been given time off and has not taught at the thành phố new york Sailing School since Sunday.
"I think he"s more traumatized than anything else," Machnica said.
As the police efforts turn from tìm kiếm to recovery, area sailors & all involved now look lớn move on from this tragic event, knowing very well this incident could have happened anywhere, và to anybody.
"When I read it was one of the Sailing School boats I was very surprised," said one New Rochelle sailor. "They go out in a lot of different conditions which is good for learning. I"m very sad for the school and for the student"s family."