Pair who sailed from Rock Hall land in Ireland

July 02, 1993|By William Thompson | William Thompson,Staff Writer

About a third of the way across the Atlantic Ocean, sailing buddies Ed Kurowski and John Schnoering encountered a 50-mph gale. Heavy seas swamped the cockpit and forced the men to drop all sails.

Despite the tempest, the two men successfully completed their first trans-Atlantic crossing this week.

The trip, which began at Rock Hall on Memorial Day weekend, ended Monday when the sailors navigated the 29-foot Island Packet Celtic Joy to a landfall on the southwest coast of Ireland.

The 27-day voyage, which took two days longer than expected, was unusual because most sailors attempting to cross the Atlantic use larger vessels and take the warmer southern route.

Mr. Kurowski, 50, of Rock Hall, and Mr. Schnoering, 42, of Deltaville, Va., experienced "a little bit of everything" during the trip, Mr. Kurowski said.

"We had some calm, some boredom, some excitement, some sheer terror," he said in a telephone interview from the tiny port of Kinsale.

They found the Atlantic crossing -- a nonstop voyage of nearly 3,000 miles -- a chilly experience.

"It was colder than I expected," Mr. Kurowski said.

Air temperatures averaged 39 degrees with water temperatures 4 degrees lower.

Mr. Kurowski said strong winds to their stern pushed the boat 120 miles "under bare poles" in a single day. The best one-day distance was 147 miles under full sail, while the shortest distance in a day was 30 miles. For long stretches, they traveled only under a genoa, or forward sail.

The men used a radio to stay in touch with family members most of the voyage.

Kurowski planned to return to Maryland today. Mr. Schnoering intends to sell the Celtic Joy while vacationing in Ireland.

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