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Rescue No. 9 won’t stop ‘Capt. Calamity’

Glenn Crawley says he isn't a bad sailor; he's just misunderstood.

"I can be accused of being irresponsible," says Crawley, 55. "I can be accused of being a maverick. I can't be accused of being an incompetent sailor. I'm a damned good sailor."

Even though the Royal National Lifeboat Institution has come to his rescue nine times in seven years - at around $4,000 a pop - Crawley says he has never called the volunteer search-and-rescue service for help. Worried onlookers ashore have placed the rescue calls, he says.

In his most recent mishap on Sept. 22, his 18-foot Dart catamaran broke up in angry surf off Fistral Beach in Cornwall, England. It was the second cat he has trashed in the last four years and the 13th time he has flipped.

Click play to watch a video of Crawley's latest mishap.

What those who have dubbed him "Capt. Calamity" don't understand is that he is not out there sailing. He's surfing.

"I'm essentially riding waves on a catamaran," he says.

Crawley says he loves the exhilaration of riding a catamaran on Newquay's notorious Cribbars - some of the biggest waves in Europe that draw surfers from all over the continent.

In midwinter, when the winds pick up, the faces of the waves can build to 20 feet. Like other kinds of "extreme sailing," catamaran surfing can be risky. "You play the odds," Crawley says. "Most of the time you get away with it. Once in a while you get your butt kicked."

He says he plans to buy another catamaran and be back surfing by Christmas.

"I'm happy I had Mischief for four years," he says. "It's not like I'm destroying a $60,000 state-of-the-art carbon-fiber high-speed boat."

Read more about the exploits of Capt. Calamity in the December issue of Soundings magazine.

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