Capsized boat crosses ocean in 3½ years

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LAST seen amid a fierce Atlantic swell off the coast of Nantucket in Massachusetts, after a large wave swept its two occupants overboard, a 26ft-long pleasure boat has been found three and a half years later, 20 miles off the coast of northern Spain.

Covered in barnacles, mould and rust, the Queen Bee, a Regulator 26 sports fishing boat, was found, capsized but afloat, in the sea near Llanes, in the province of Asturias, with most of its equipment still on board and “Nantucket” clearly visible on the bow.

The owner, Scott Douglas, 58, last saw her as he and brother-in-law, Rich St Pierre, 68, swam for their lives on 25 August, 2008, after being swept overboard as they tried to make for land.

“That’s amazing,” he told the Cape Cod Times after seeing the pictures of his old boat. “It looks entirely different.”

Mr St Pierre told the newspaper that he was “astonished” when he heard about it.

Coastguard officers on both sides of the Atlantic were bemused by the Queen Bee’s remarkable journey across the North Atlantic Ocean.

US Coast Guard Lieutenant Joe Klinker said the boat had probably drifted out in the swell over the continental shelf and then had been swept up by the Gulf Stream.

“From there, it may [have] drifted north off the coast of northern Canada and east with the North Atlantic currents,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Officials estimate the Queen Bee’s voyage was at least 3,500 nautical miles and the boat was adrift for 1,241 days.

As for recovering the vessel, Mr Douglas said he had no interest in his old boat any more. “Maritime law allows the Spanish to claim the boat … so they are welcome to it,” he said.