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Barge crushes Loop boat at dock on ICW in Virginia

by Peter Janssen on 23 May 2017
Barge crushes Loop boat at dock on ICW in Virginia Cruising Odyssey
This is a story about having a dream, suffering some incredibly bad luck, and planning a comeback in the face of adversity.

In April, after three years of saving and planning, Susan Pellett left her home in Riverview, Florida, just south of Tampa, to start the Great Loop on SuzieQ, her 1985, 21-foot Sport Craft. Now, on a rainy Friday morning in May, she was walking up the long face dock at the Atlantic Yacht Basin, a large, full-service marina at mile 12 of the Intracoastal Waterway in Chesapeake City, Virginia.

“I was 42 days into my Loop trip single-handed,” she says, “having the time of my life.” She had spent the night on a friend’s larger boat, and now she was heading for SusieQ at the north end of the dock to get some bread for breakfast from the refrigerator.

That was the end of her trip. SusieQ was destroyed. At 12:45 that morning a south-bound barge somehow crashed into the docked Sport Craft, crushing it against the dock. The hull was broken at the boot stripe and the deck was separated from the hull. Pellett couldn’t even get into the cabin. “My heart is broken,” she said. “I love my pretty little SuzyQ and was having a great time navigating her through some pretty big waters.”

The tow company wrote her a check on Monday morning, and Pellett says she was overwhelmed by the support of people at the yacht basin and other cruisers. “My fellow Loopers helped me with warm, dry shelter, coffee, hugs until my family in Florida could get me,” she says. Pellett says she’s “broken hearted,” but the dream of completing the Loop single-handed is still alive. She’ll buy another boat and start again next year. “I’m not done,” she says.

This article has been provided courtesy of the CruisingOdyssey.

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