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Sailors Rescued Nine Times

Yet again the poor Nora needed the help of others besides her two American crew. This time it was in Cornwall after the unattended 40-footer tipped over and caught fire from a candle left burning inside.

© 2016 Colin Miggs / Apex

Intrepid — but perhaps somewhat incompetent — American sailors Bob Weise and Steve Shapiro, both 71, left Norway last July aboard the 40-ft, 18-ton Nora hoping to sail to Maine. Things have not been going well. So far they’ve only made it to Hayle, Cornwall, England. What’s worse, they’ve had to be rescued nine times in seven months! 

So far they’ve been rescued in Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland and England. It’s unclear if they’ve made it through a country without having to be rescued.

The most recent incident is particularly troubling. According to the local harbormaster, “’They either didn’t understand or couldn’t do it [secure the boat in advance of a severe drop in tide] properly because they didn’t comply and the yacht fell over when the tide went out.” Not only was neither man aboard when the boat went on her side, they’d left a candle burning inside the boat! The candle started a fire, which apparently took three hours to put out.

Shapiro, according to the always fact-filled Daily Mail, is a “screenwriter and author originally from California,” while Weise is a former helicopter pilot for the US Army.

Shapiro downplayed the damage, saying the fire was limited to some clothes. “Soon as we get northerly winds, we’ll go out,” he said.

Be that as it may, the tipped-over and burning Nora precipitated a response from firefighters, two rescue boats and an ambulance. Brits are starting to grouse, as a typical rescue response in England costs about $22,000. And as the local harbormaster said, he was concerned about not only the men’s safety, but that of those who might have to rescue them yet again.

This is not the first time elderly American sailors have created above-average problems for rescue services in Britain and on the Continent. It’s been something like 10 years now since an elderly but game sailor from Northern California — whose name we can no longer remember — became infamous for having to be rescued so many times. 

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