JUNE 21 — The body of a prominent Maryland publisher was found Monday more than a week after he went missing while sailing his 41-foot sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay.
Philip Merrill, who was 72, was found floating one mile southwest of Poplar Island by a recreational boater, about 11 miles northeast of where his boat, the Merrilly, was found crewless and drifting, news reports say. Merrill was apparently wearing a shirt with the boat’s name on it but was not wearing a PFD, authorities said.
Tom Marquardt, a spokesperson for the Merrill family, said the family was “grieving all over again” after receiving the news. “It’s been a very difficult time for them,” he said in an Associated Press report. “They’re gathering around each other and getting through this ordeal.”
Merrill, who is said to have been an experienced sailor, was alone on Merrilly June 10 when he left his home on the Severn River near Annapolis. He was following an 18-mile route from the Severn to KentIsland and back, reports say. A small-craft advisory was issued for the bay that day, reports say, calling for 20- to 25-knot winds and 3-foot seas.
When authorities found Merrill’s boat they also discovered his wallet on board and the engine still running, according to reports. Authorities believed Merrill fell overboard and that no foul play was suspected.
Merrill was chairman of the board of Capital-Gazette Communications Inc., which publishes Washingtonian magazine and The Capital newspaper. Merrill also served as president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States from 2002 to 2005.
— Jason Fell