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Maiden voyage gone awry

DEC. 8 — Coast Guard officials Tuesday were searching for a Louisiana couple that went missing after taking a homemade boat on its maiden voyage on Lake Pontchartrain.

Frank Andrew and Gretchen Life, both 39 and of Gretna, La., were considered missing by the Coast Guard Monday after their 18-foot sailing dory, Fox Feathers, was found capsized near the Causeway Bridge. Coast Guard officials launched an initial search and investigation but, without having received a distress call or an overdue report, returned to Station New Orleans.

The search resumed at about noon Tuesday after Gretna police were told by neighbors that Andrew and Life had taken the boat out Saturday on its maiden voyage, according to the Coast Guard.

Andrew began building Fox Feathers in 2004 and documented his progress on his Web site. It was apparently the third boat he had made.

On Nov. 5, another maiden voyage turned tragic when 56-year-old Jeff Waldman, of Glendale, Wis., went overboard from his homemade 35-foot sailboat on Lake Michigan off Milwaukee and disappeared. Waldman’s wife, 18-year-old son and a friend were on board at the time of that incident.

— Jason Fell