Navy Sailboat Hits A Barge And Sinks

12 Aboard Safe

American Promise Set Record Circling The Globe

April 22, 1991|By Staff report

A famous Naval Academy sailboat collided with a barge in the Chesapeake Bay early yesterday and sank four hours later.

Officials from the Navy and Coast Guard are investigating the 2 a.m. crash, which occurred about three miles southeast of Cove Point near the mouth of the Patuxent River, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike John. No one was seriouslyinjured.

Three officers and nine midshipmen were sailing the American Promise during a routine overnight exercise when they collided with a barge en route to the Brandon Shores Power Plant in Baltimore, John said.

Those aboard the American Promise were taken from the water by rescue workers from the Coast Guard, Navy and state Department of Natural Resources police.

They were treated at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station for shock and minor injuries and released.

The Sun Coast barge, about 75 feet long, was hauling coal north on its regularrun from Norfolk to Baltimore. It arrived in Baltimore about 12 hours after the accident.

"The boat was stuck to the barge, and the mast was tangled up on the barge, and when the mast ripped off, the rest of the boat sank right away," said the Coast Guard duty officer, Petty Officer Kehler, at Group Baltimore Search and Rescue.

The 60-foot American Promise, specially designed by Ted Hood for Dodge Morgan's record-setting non-stop solo circumnavigation, was donated to the Naval Academy by Morgan in late 1986, after he had halved the previous record by completing his 25,670-mile circumnavigation in 150 days.

Morgan's experiences aboard American Promise are chronicled in hispopular book "Around Alone." A video of his sailing adventures has been widely aired on television.

After the Naval Academy received the boat, it was converted for use in the Command and Seamanship Training Squadron (CSTS), training midshipmen on long-distance cruises.

As Hood designed the boat, and Morgan commissioned it, the rig was intended to withstand a 360-degree roll, and the high, flared bow, of five-inch-thick fiberglass, was meant to survive an eight-knot collision.

Winds were northwest at 20 knots and seas were running to four feet at the time of yesterday's accident, Kehler said.

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