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  • Writer's pictureWinCynPosts

Were We Ever Afraid? Oh Yes, There Were Times...

The Tug Cable -- Sailing in heavy fog off Newport, RI, toward Block Island, we encountered a tug pulling a barge – actually we encountered the half-mile-long, two-inch thick wire cable pulling the barge -- off our port bow (the left side in front of the yacht).Winston’s quick reaction U-turn evolved into a circular route in the fog for five more revolutions, keeping the yacht clear and us safe.Had we plowed ahead, the cable could have cut the yacht in two and never even noticed… The Water Spouts -- One hundred miles off the east coast, the sky turned black in all four directions, though blue sky shined right above us. Then we spotted a perfectly formed waterspout off in the distance, identical to the shape of huge tornados featured on CNN.

Just as we were snapping pictures of this phenomenon and oohing over its breadth, we witnessed the birth of a second waterspout. Then a third and a fourth sprouted, ominously. In all, five waterspouts joined sea to sky and encircled our sailboat, closing almost every escape route we tried. This was no laughing matter. Putting on life jackets, we prepared the life raft for launch. This was probably the most fearful I’ve ever been on a sailboat. We didn’t have enough power to outrun the spouts and didn’t know which way to turn anyway.

We were surrounded. We hunkered down, the sobbing captain’s wife huddled in a corner almost frozen with fear, the rest of us bracing ourselves for the worst. We alerted the Coast Guard and the boat’s owner, then just sat there, holding our collective breath, staring at the sky, ready to launch the lifeboat at a moment’s notice. Then, unexplainably, the danger passed. After what seemed like hours, we watched all five waterspouts dissipate into the atmosphere, as if they never existed at all, just a figment of our imagination. Shaking our heads in disbelief, we assured each other that, indeed, we had just witnessed horror and, indeed, we must be living right.​

Winston Hovey and Cynthia Zvanut Hovey transformed their desire to simplify their lives and be free of all their “stuff” into a mutual second career in paradise, first running a pirate bar and then as crew on megayachts. Their new book, "There's a Yacht More to Life," spans 25 years of their adventurous career makeover. For more information contact Winston and Cynthia at

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