True Stories: Mayday! Mayday! (1/8)

Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, two men struggle to stay alive.

True Stories: Mayday! Mayday!


Jud Baker rested his suntanned hands on the wheel of his 42-foot sailboat, Trinity.

The 48-year-old resident of Kelowna was finally headed home. He and his friend John Davidson had been at sea for six long months, and were now sailing north from Latin America to their port of origin, Vancouver. As Jud stared at the jungle along the Costa Rican coastline, he could think of only one thing: Sherri Henton, his girlfriend of 13 years.

His reverie was shattered by a crash. That’s odd, he thought. Did we lose an air tank?

John burst through the cockpit door. “The boat’s coming apart! Jud! It’s coming apart!”

Jud stared back, baffled. What was John talking about? Why would the boat come apart? It had been through far worse than the large, choppy waves bashing into them now. From the start, the 1976 trimaran — which Jud bought specifically for the trip — had been plagued by mechanical problems that stretched their planned two-month voyage into half a year. Still, Trinity
had always weathered the squalls they’d hit along the way. Now, with a new motor, the sailboat was all tuned up for the return trip — or so Jud thought.

Jud turned to the stern. He sucked in his breath. One of Trinity’s three hulls was lifting away from the rest of the ship at a sickening angle. It was actually ripping off the boat. This is really happening, he thought. We’re going down.

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