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Web Waypoints

These stories and others appear daily on which also contains a searchable archive of past Soundings stories.

These stories and others appear daily on which also contains a searchable archive of past Soundings stories.

He signaled his intent for a new course

The chief mate aboard the schooner Virginia used signal flags to propose to his girlfriend, the boatswain aboard the tall ship Godspeed, during a June tall ship festival in Norfolk, Va. With help from the crew of both ships, the girlfriend was asked to translate the flags flying from Virginia’s rigging, according to a Virginian-Pilot news report.

The woman shouted, “Yes” across the water. Shortly after, three flags were raised on the Godspeed that confirmed her affirmative answer. Both crews celebrated by firing cannons, and bagpipers aboard another tall ship serenaded the couple.

More than 100 young Irish sailors were rescued in July after a sudden squall hit their flotilla in the Irish Sea off Dublin. The children, all age 16 or younger, were competing in the National Yacht Club junior regatta when the storm capsized many of the 91 boats, according to an Associated Press news report. A gale warning reportedly had been issued the day before the start of the two-day event, but conditions were calm and sunny when the race got under way. Some of the children managed to right their sailboats and head for shore, but others had trouble in the water. An Irish Coast Guard helicopter, two lifeboats, an Irish navy vessel, and a number of private boats assisted in the rescue.

A New Hampshire man nearly drowned in June after backing his truck into a lake while practicing to launch an imaginary boat. The man was backing his Ford F-350 down a launch ramp on LakeMassabesic when he apparently went too far and the truck began to sink, a report in New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper says. The man told authorities he was practicing for the day he purchases a boat. “He panicked because he was in the water up to the headrests, and he nearly drowned trying to get back to shore,” a police officer says in the report. The man eventually made it ashore and called a towing service for help.

A rescue drill to test the Westchester (N.Y.) County Police Department’s new 27-foot patrol boat turned fatal — for a dummy. County officials this summer dropped a dummy wearing a PFD from a helicopter into an area harbor on Long Island Sound, according to a report in New York’s Journal News. The idea was to have the helicopter crew spot the “distressed swimmer” and transmit its location to the rescue boat crew, who would perform the rescue. The helicopter apparently hovered too close to the water after the dummy was dropped, and its prop wash caused the dummy to slip out of its PFD and sink. Only the PFD was retrieved. “The guys in the bomb squad are going to be mad,” one of the police officers says in the report. “That was their dummy.”

A Washington fisherman decided he couldn’t wait to be rescued and cut off two of his fingertips after his hand became pinned between his sinking boat and a log. The 51-year-old was fishing with another man on the WynoocheeRiver in June when rapids pushed his 16-footer into a log jam, trapping his index and middle fingers, an Associated Press news report says. The other man climbed ashore to find help. As the boat filled with water, the trapped man used a pocket knife to cut off the fingertips. The second man reportedly returned minutes later with nearby residents and tools. The injured man was taken to a nearby hospital, where his fingertips were reattached.

A 27-foot Bayliner was recently impaled in its slip at a Wisconsin marina by a 65,000-pound forklift. The forklift operator apparently failed to set the brake, and the machine, which was being used to remove a portion of the dock, lurched off the dock and onto the boat, a news report in the La Crosse Tribune newspaper says. The boat’s owner looked up in time to see the falling forklift and dove overboard within seconds of impact. Although the owner was unharmed, one of the forklift’s tines holed the boat’s hull. The Bayliner and forklift were later removed from the water.