Sailing Yacht

Couple’s SAILBOAT Sinks TWO DAYS After Departing When Keel Falls Off | Exclusive Interview





Nikki Walsh and Tanner Broadwell bought at $5,000 1969 Columbia 28-foot sailboat to sail around the world. Their trip lasted 2 days. In the end the boat sunk to the bottom of the ocean. They departed Tarpon Springs, Florida. By 9PM on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, their boat was at the bottom of the sea. They were able to save their dog, a dinghy, and their IDs before abandoning ship to a SeaTow.

The boat lost its keel when they were motoring 2 miles per hour in the John’s channel off Tampa Bay, Florida. The boat filled with water within 10 minutes as water seeped up from the bottom of the boat and rested on the sea floor in 3-feet of water. The next day the boat turned on its side. Tanner said that someone is offering to give them a new boat, but they have started a $10,000 GoFundMe campaign to pay their salvage expenses and buy a new floating home. They estimate the salvage costs at $6,700 and they have no insurance. The 24-year old woman and 26-year old man lost their life savings. The link to that campaign is below:

The 49-year old boat had plenty of electronic and paper charts for the area. It only had a 6-horse power outboard for power, which worked until the boat sunk. It is somewhat common for old sailboats to have keel bolts give way and for the keel to fall off if they are not inspected regularly.
Nikki and Tanner learned to sail from Tanner’s dad and by sailing on friends’ boats. They bought SV Lagniappe in Fairhope, Alabama near mobile. Tanner and his Dad sailed the boat to Destin, Florida where Nikki sailed the boat to Panama City, Florida. From Panama City, Florida the three people and one dog sailed the 49-year old boat for 3 and a half days offshore to Tarpon Springs, Florida in June 2017. Nikki and Tanner spent $5,000 fixing up the boat until they departed for Key West, Florida in February. They spent one night at anchor before disaster struck and their beloved sailboat sunk, wrecked, and was a total loss. They used to live in Colorado before living aboard their sailboat in Tarpon Springs.

One lesson from this disaster and the wreck of the Tanda Malaika, whose captain Dan Govatos was a guest of the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast, is that entering an unfamiliar harbor at night is a bad idea. More cruisers should heed that rule of thumb.

Tanner says she idolizes the crew of the YouTube channels Sailing La Vagabonde and Slow Boat Sailing Podcast guests Sailing SV Delos. Tanner was wearing a Sailing La Vagabonde t-shirt when their boat sunk near Tampa Bay.

Photos from Nikki Walsh’s GoFundMe campaign and Facebook profile were reproduced with her permission.

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Copyright Linus Wilson, Vermilion Advisory Services, 2018

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43 comments

  1. Check out our round the world sailing adventure!


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  2. Ok, I tried to approach this with an open mind. I admire their spirit, however, to think your are going to sail around the world with absolutely no experience or money is delusional and irresponsible. The Go Fund Me is the apex of ridiculousness. We are asked to donate money to someone who’s made a poor decision? I don’t think so. They should, however, not give up their dream. Sailing is one of our last real freedoms. There is no place with fewer restrictions than on the water. I love the water, sailing and boating of any kind. Everyone should be able to live it. Although, they should AT LEAST WATCH VIDEOS AND GET SOME REAL EXPERIENCE. You don’t need to sail for 20years first but a year or so sailing locally, learning the rules of the road, coastal navigation and general boat handling would be prudent.

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  3. There are two kinds of sailors. Those that have run aground and those who will. I'm among the former.

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  4. Saw a lot of hate filled post on yahoo news. I hope they have a gofundme page. I admire them. Tough break. Keep your chins up. Don't give up.

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  5. Go back to where you came from get jobs and stop begging and forget about sailing for now. This way you may both have a beater chance at longer lives. The world's oceans are no place for imbeciles.

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  6. Wrong video!
    I thought this was the channel of that lesbian couple, Gone With the Wind.

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  7. youns wasn't ready

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  8. The problem with this type of incident is that every time incompetent people undertake an enterprise for which they are unfit and get themselves into trouble, it reflects badly on those who do know what they are doing, and tends to bring the unwanted attentions of the authorities who then want to impose more regulations and tell us how to go about our business. Its like fools who go out in tippy canoes without knowing how to swim, and then drown when they capsize, followed by a public outcry to force all boaters into life jackets. In any event, I hope that any funds these people are given by a well meaning public do not in fact get used to get them back on the water, lest next time they lose their lives.

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  9. I can Arrogantly do anything I see on YouTube.

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  10. This scares me, I'm 41, a shipwright by trade and numerous other marine things. Maybe I'm just not brave enough but even now after many thousands of sea miles, I'm in fear of the sea. I don't blame these people for getting it wrong we all do that, but it does scare me when i see how many people are so unaware of the dangers out there. Youtube is great for knowledge but none of it counts for experience and experience is both scary and rewarding, I guess these have had their first scare and I wish them well and hope they are rewarded in tides to come. Please learn more though don't become another statistic that none of us want to see.

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  11. A lot of not so nice comments. It is easy to criticize people but even when you think you do, you never really know the whole story. I got a lot a nasty comments on the internet about my South Pole biking expedition. https://youtu.be/o1D5NK5vf0I But I also got a lot of supportive comments. So I guess what I am saying is I hope they can take comfort from those with supportive comments, and not get to down from the negative comments.

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  12. morons,,,so foot the bill for dumb luck….typical entitlement generation ;

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  13. sounds like lack of experience ad bad navigation to me.

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  14. Now is a great time to find a bargain boat, Florida is full of them! Good luck!

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  15. There is a Silver Lining in this story. If the keel bolts were compromised, then its a good thing they failed in 3 feet of water instead of offshore in a blow.

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  16. Oops a daisy.

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  17. Everything they owned was a total of 10 grand? Really? And we are supposed to feel sorry for them for losing so much money?

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  18. Sailing charts and GPS. Captain Cook did the same off the Australian coast, but he didn't have a chart or GPS.

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  19. Couple of observations: If your boat is sunk and sitting on the bottom in three feet of water and your keel is more than three feet long, that means you didn't hit "something," you hit the bottom. If your boat is sitting on the bottom and has no keel, what do you think towing it to deeper water is going to do? Sink it further. "I refuse to watch anyone's YT videos!" Maybe you should have watched the one about keel bolts.

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  20. That boat looks way to small to make a crossing. Boat sinking where it did probably saved their lives.

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  21. Taking people's money on this GoFund crap is ridiculous. Getting rewarded for poor behavior is pathetic. Quit telling everyone you hit some mysterious underwater object, you hit the sandbar that everyone knows is there. And yes, it's a sandbar so it does shift around. The markers on this pass are very tricky to start with and in the dark it's that much harder.
    Also WHERE were they planning to go once they made it through the pass? The ICW behind John's Pass is possibly the shallowest, narrowest, most difficult to navigate area that I have ever seen. It's tricky even for people who have been through there many times in daylight. And there was nowhere to go back there anyhow. Both north and south there are low bridges that don't open that late at night. There's a small anchorage area 2 miles to the north but getting to it through that section of the ICW in the dark on an outgoing tide, no way. Had they cleared the pass they were destined to ground back there anyhow, and their paper mache boat would have been all over the ICW.

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  22. A GPS navigation system us crucial for this…

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  23. Do they have a YouTube channel?

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  24. You do not need a sponsor you need a decent job!

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  25. Dumb as a burlap bag of saltwater

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  26. Someone needs to tell all these people that think buying a crappy boat can sail outside the harbour.
    Look 5 k gets you a beat up vw van fully loaded and you can drive really far .. but 5 k on a boat that can sail the world either gets you a new mainsail and jib or a new dingy. Not both.
    Then there is the rest of the boat you need to buy.
    You need 50k to get a decent 30 year old boat. And 25k to make it sea worthy and then 20k a year to go cruising.
    Dont tell me i am wrong cause i am right.

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  27. They forgot to put Bob Wiley on their sailing mast for navigation and good luck.

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  28. Simply naive and very stupid people!

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  29. Sorry these two need to stay off the water.  This was preventable. No common sense.

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  30. Please follow up with them… What will their insurance company give them, also should they get another boat will they get insured. As bad as I feel for them but they were not prepared, ready or realistic to 'captain a boat' let alone circumnavigate. They were extremely fortunate.

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  31. The problem isn’t that they screwed up and sunk. It’s that their solution to their negligence and irresponsibility is to ask other people to solve their problem by sending them money AND giving them a boat!!!

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  32. Think maybe he should have watched some videos so he would know not to sail in shallow enough water to break off the keel. Dumb really dumb.

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  33. One can’t fault them for the keel falling off, yet I hear a naive view of the world. Sailing isn’t free. It can be quite expensive. Things break on a boat and this requires spare parts which are not free. One can’t arrive in a foreign country without money and expect to check in. And what will you use to purchase food and provisions.
    I have always had to pay my own way and learn from my mistakes. It’s time that some personal responsibility come into the conversation. The best gift these two could have is a job and earn their way.

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  34. Had they followed the navigation markers, used a nav chart the right way, had a depth finder, this wouldn't have happened. But hey, YouTube is great for things like training to be a surgeon. How can sailing be different?
    A 28' boat is a day sailor / coastal boat. Anyone who says they're going to cruise the world in one is being unrealistic, and hasn't experienced the mild rolling ocean swells of even 10'. Get off the water and live in an RV.

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  35. That just SUCKS! Hope they can recover, and get back on the water okay.

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  36. This shit is funny. Now make sure to use the ebegging money to move that thing so it doesn't wash out to sea. I would hate to hit that submerged pos with my boat.

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  37. I too love my Walker Bay 8 but don't know how to get back into it when swimming.  Have you ever boarded from the water?  Any tips?

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  38. They should count their blessings. What if they did not ground, What if they continued and the keel fell off 600 miles offshore!

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  39. Sorry for them, just curious. .. did they have a survey when they bought the boat? If so the surveyor might be liable at least partially.
    S/V Laurena Marlane

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  40. I'm glad you are an expert on Clearwater Florida ever heard of an oyster bed? You are a troll you live off of other sailing channels

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  41. I wonder if its safer having an encapsulated keel? You know my wife was sure to tell me about this incident saying "see that could be you…" She doesn't like the idea of sailing.

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  42. Great to view this interview as there has been so much speculation. That 60Hz hum in their audio is making my subwoof go nutz though. I have a later version of the same boat they have with the same stub keel and lead extension. I'll be giving the 50 year old keel bolts the hairy eyeball with an eye to sistering in some more maybe. Glad they made it out ok, lessons learned, and young enough to give it another go

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  43. He said it all at the beginning. "I didn't watch any videos, I refused to watch." I refused to learn… that's what I heard him say. Dumbass award! A wise man learns from his own mistakes. A genius learns from someone else's.
    Think hard and let that soak in some.

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