Ep. 46: Sailboat Sunk 2 Days Into Dream Cruise when Its Keel Falls Off, Nikki Walsh and Tanner Broadwell Speak to Linus Wilson on the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast

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. See our video of this at

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


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.

Subscribe to get season 2 in the crossing the Pacific and sail the Marquesas, Fakarava, and Tahiti.

On May 15, 2017, Lewis Bennett told US Coast Guard rescuers that his wife, Isabella Hellman, fell overboard while he slept in the 37-foot sailing catamaran on their honeymoon trip from St. Marteen to Key West. His boat sank 26-miles from Cay Sal Bahamas, and he evacuated into a life raft where the USCG rescued him. They also found rolls of silver coins. Mr.  Bennett was convicted of illegally transporting stolen silver and gold coins. On February 20, 2018, the former newlywed husband, Lewis Bennett faced new charges of second degree murder in the death of his wife, Isabella Hellman, the mother of their daughter, a toddler named Emilia.  The FBI alleges that Mr. Bennett a UK and Australian citizen scuttled his boat, Surf into Summer.

SAILING MYSTERY, GHOST BOAT, SEA NYMPH, found in VOR | Exclusive GPS data & USCG survivor debrief


Volvo Ocean Racers spotted a “ghost ship”, a derelict sailboat, 360 miles east of Guam on February 13, 2018, UTC. It was none other than the SV Sea Nymph abandoned by Jennifer Appel and her crew member Tasha Fuiava nearly 3 to 4 months earlier on October 25, 2017. We discuss the latest revelations from this mysterious disaster at sea. We bring you exclusively the interview of the sailors on the doomed sailors who were criticized by the US Coast Guard for not using her EPIRB. The USCG alleges via the AP that they hailed the Sea Nymph on June 15, 2017, near Tahiti. Ms. Appel told the Today Show that they were no where near Tahiti and her handheld GPS proves that. Linus Wilson was given her handheld GPS track history and analyzed it. It only had two days of data, the last two days prior to the rescue. This tale of two women and two dogs where rescued 900 miles southeast of Japan goes on…


Linus finds a jungle of mold on the Slow Boat when he returns after 5 months. He goes to sea unprepared to avoid the bugs, mud, and torrential rains in Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. His sailboat lacks a sail and several things are not tied down as he flees the crowded anchorage of Tahauku Bay near Atuona. Linus has to transport the only potable water one liter at a time in a mad rush to flee the waterlogged French Polynesian island.  He also replaces another battery because it became waterlogged. Linus and Daly (the dog) sail to Tahuata’s paradise of clear blue water and white sand beaches, Hanamoenoa Bay.

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Copyright Linus Wilson, Vermilion Advisory Services, 2018


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