Texas Man’s World Sailing Dreams in Jeopardy as ‘Ghost Ship’ Discovered

Texas Man's World Sailing Dreams in Jeopardy as 'Ghost Ship' Discovered

A man from Texas bought a “ghost ship” that washed up on a beach in the Florida Panhandle. He plans to lose a lot of his life savings on it because he bought it to sail it around the world.

Early in the evening of June 18, Francine Farrar couldn’t believe her eyes when a 45-foot yacht with no one on board slowly sailed toward her family’s Pensacola beach rental.

Farrar, a 46-year-old mother from Meridian, Mississippi, told NBC News last week, “I saw this broken-down sailboat that looked like a ghost coming in.”

The boat washed up on the beach, and the strange sight of a sailboat on the sand quickly caught the attention of people in the area, said Allie Garrett, 35, who lives in Pensacola.

“We called it the ‘ghost ship.'” “Across Pensacola Beach, it quickly became known as the ‘ghost ship,'” said Garrett, a meteorologist and storm watcher who took many pictures and videos with a drone of the ship.

During storm season in Florida, boats often get off course when strong winds blow them off their moorings.

Farrar said, “We just thought that someone didn’t tie this sailboat down well enough and it got away from the marina.”

But this ship that washed up on the beach had a much more difficult trip to get to Pensacola.

Soon after people in the area put pictures of the craft on social media, 39-year-old Michael Barlow saw them. Barlow’s life had been saved weeks before in a terrifying Coast Guard rescue in the Gulf of Mexico.

Barlow knew right away that the pictures and video were of The Lady Catherine III, which he bought in May in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Barnow said, “I knew it was her.”

Barlow said that the Catherine left Fort Pierce on May 21 with plans to dock in Rockport, Texas. There, he would close down a mining business and sell his things to start a new life of traveling.

Barlow told his wife and 9-year-old son, “We were just going to see the world.” “We’re just regular people.” Our money is pretty normal, very simple. You see, this is the only way I could show my son that there is more to the world than just America. It was the only sensible way to do this up until this point.

Barlow and a friend were on their way back to Texas when Catherine was hit by strong winds and huge waves that would later become Hurricane Alberto.

He said in an interview from Honduras, where he’s currently living and teaching diving, “We went through storm after storm after storm, and then that last storm just hit us and blew up my front headsails.” “We lost our motor and our headsail, and we were turning.” It wasn’t expected, and it was terrible.

He also said, “I’ve never seen anything so crazy in the seas.” My whole life has been spent on the water. I’ve worked on faraway fishing boats and seen some rough seas. “But I’ve never seen anything so crazy in my life.”

One of the few electric or gas-powered tools that wasn’t destroyed by the waves was Barlow’s Garmin satellite communication device. He was able to tell people on land that he was stuck in dangerous water.

Barlow said, remembering his message to the Coast Guard, “We were fine before, but now we can’t control the boat, and things are getting worse.” “We are beginning to turn around.” The waves were making the boat roll. We weren’t able to do much.

On June 1, the Coast Guard in New Orleans was told about two boaters whose “vessel became disabled approximately 190 miles south of Panama City.”

Officials say that a Coast Guard helicopter and observation plane found Barlow and his friend on the Catherine. However, they couldn’t do a boat-to-boat rescue because the water was too rough.

When the Coast Guard came to save Barlow, they told him, “We can come get you right now, but you have to leave the vessel.” ‘You’re taking a big risk with your life if you stay,’ Everything was going badly, and things were only getting worse.

Barlow chose a rescue over the $80,000 boat he bought.

A Coast Guard statement said, “The aircrews arrived on scene, and the helicopter aircrew took the two people aboard and took them to Panama City Airport in Panama City, Florida.”

Barlow told them he was pretty sure the Catherine would show up again, and it did, 17 days later and almost 200 miles away.

Barlow said, “We did our best to leave her in the best shape to make it through the storm.” “We tied her down and hoped she could handle it.”

The sailor now only has bad options.

He could pay $20,000 to have the Catherine taken to dry dock so that it could be fixed up. The fixes could cost more than what Catherine was worth before Alberto.

He could also pay about $28,000 to have the ship taken away and destroyed, which would at least stop the money from leaving his account.

“If we’re talking about money, it makes more sense to get rid of the boat,” Barlow said. “That’s the honest truth.”

We hope to find a solution in the next few weeks as he talks with state and local leaders.

Barlow owns a “derelict vessel,” and officials say he needs to move it or he could be charged with a third-degree crime, which could lead to a fine of up to $5,000 or even jail time.

“Yes, our officers have talked to Mr. Barlow,” a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Faith Fawn, said in a statement. “He has 30 days from the date the uniform boating ticket was given to make sure his boat is legal.”

He said he won’t give up on his dream of going around the world, even if this Catherine mess costs him all of his life savings.

Barlow’s last words on the water aboard the Catherine were, “I said I can make another $80,000 and we can go on with life and try again, or we can sit around here and try to be tough guys and lose it all.”

In terms of sailing, this did not change my mind at all. The ocean is my favorite place. I care about the ocean. It never stops and is beautiful at the same time.

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