Fighting for survival at sea was not how professional skipper Capt. Rick Moore planned to spend his Christmas after delivering gifts to Haiti.
What began as a simple mission to bring Christmas to a poor Haitian village ended with him and his crew being slammed by a ferocious storm at sea, and forced back to Haiti.
Making the best of the incident, and unable to leave, they have now made a DVD of the islands to raise money for the islanders.
'I was supposed to be home for Christmas, but I took this job thinking I could still be home a few days after and see my kids,' said Moore, a charter sailor in the British Virgin Islands. 'I wanted my boys to understand that dad was giving other kids a Christmas, something they were lucky enough to have each year.'
For years, Moore has spent his winters running Wind In My Sails Inc., chartering guests aboard his 50-foot luxury yacht, Sophisticated Lady, in the British Virgin Islands. He spends his summers close to home.
In December, Moore was asked by the Good Samaritan Foundation in BVI to take a collection of donated toys, food, clothing, school and hygiene supplies to Ile Vache, Haiti.
Sophisticated Lady in calmer times - .. .
Moore and a small crew left on Dec. 15, intending to return in 10 days. But Mother Nature had other plans.
'We made the delivery, and those people weren't expecting the gifts,' Moore said. 'They were so appreciative, and they threw us a big celebration to thank us.'
But no one was celebrating during the sail home on Dec. 23.
'When we were coming around the Cape on the south side of Haiti, the winds and currents picked up and held us right there in the water,' Moore said. 'Within three hours, we had a lot of damage done to the boat. We had 40 to 50 knot winds slamming into the ship, and the engine went down, so we had difficulty making way into the storm.'
'The force of the gale, and the erratic sea conditions below the Cape were enough to spin the boat around and blow out both our sails,' Moore wrote in one of his online blogs. 'We were then adrift at sea for about 15 hours, getting slammed repeatedly by huge waves slapping the side of the boat with such force that several more things were broken on the boat.' Continue reading here.