Louis Jordan, Sixty Six Days Adrift — What Really Happened?

Jordan on his sailboat Angel , from an undated photo.

Jordan on his sailboat Angel , from an undated photo.

Reading about sailing in the media is often like reading a mystery story. The question is not, however, “who done it?” but “what really happened?”  The reports of Louis Jordan who was found adrift in his disabled sailboat off Cape Hatteras after two months is a good example. Many of the press reports make no sense whatsoever. Here is my attempt to piece together what may have happened.

The story, as reported, sounds unbelievable. The Guardian reported: An American missing at sea for 66 days was rescued from his capsized boat 200 miles off the North Carolina coast, telling coastguards he survived on drinking rainwater and catching fish. Louis Jordan, 37, who was reported missing by his family in January, was spotted sitting on the overturned hull of his 35ft boat by the crew of a German tanker.”  The report on Slate was similar and featured the dramatic headline: “Sailor Lost at Sea for 66 Days With Just Rainwater and Raw Fish Is Saved by Passing Tanker.”  NBC Reports that Jordan was “found floating on the overturned hull of his vessel by a German cargo ship, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

When I say the account sounds unbelievable, I mean that literally.  How could anyone stay alive on the  overturned hull of a sailboat for 66 days?  What sort of sailboat will stay afloat for 66 days if “overturned”? Multihulls, catamarans and trimarans, often have flotation that will keep them afloat after a capsize, but Jordan’s boat was not a multihull.

The boat is described in multiple sources as a “1950s single-masted sailboat.” A sailboat boat from the 1950s would probably be built of wood. Nevertheless, photos of Jordan sitting on the sailboat, named Angel look very much like a fiberglass boat. Reading through other media accounts, the UK Mirror describes the boat as an Alberg 35, which is a heavily built, 1960s vintage fiberglass sailboat.

This makes the news accounts even less plausible. The Alberg 35 has 5,300 pounds of ballast, over 40% of its total displacement. If the capsized boat didn’t sink, it would right itself. It is unlikely that anyone could sit “on the overturned hull” as described.

So what really happened? Who really knows? Here is what I have been able to piece together.

Louis Jordan lived on his sailboat, a vintage Alberg 35, a marina in Conway, S.C. He liked to fish. He would usually fish in the intercoastal waterway. When they were not biting in the local channel, he decided to go fishing offshore in the Gulf Stream. He told one reporter that the weather looked fine even though the weather report on the radio was predicting bad weather. He decided not to be a “fairweather sailor” and so on January 23, set off into the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras.

At some point, while Jordan was sleeping below deck, the boat was hit by a large wave and capsized. Jordon says that the boat rolled 360 degrees.  All his gear went flying and the boat took on considerable water. His radio was damaged and apparently he did not have an EPIRB or a personal locator beacon. In the capsize, the boat’s deck-stepped mast came down. Jordan also broke his collarbone. Nevertheless, he was able to bail out the boat with a bucket.

After 66 days, the drifting boat was spotted by the container ship Houston Express. Jordan was taken aboard.  The Coast Guard airlifted Jordan from the ship and transported him to a local hospital, were he is reported to be in good condition.

The reports that Jordan was found sitting on the “overturned hull of his 35ft boat” and that he lived on “just rainwater and raw fish” do not appear to be anywhere close to accurate. Coast Guard spokesperson Lt Krystyn Pecora said Jordan survived eating the food he had on his boat, by collecting rain water and using a net to catch fish. She said he managed to stay hydrated by going inside his boat’s cabin a lot. Pecora said there were conflicting reports on whether Jordan’s boat capsized, but she said the boat was upright when they found it.

Houston Express, the ship which rescued Jordan, is a container ship and not a tanker, as was often reported.

Jordan should be congratulated for his survival skills. Nevertheless, Jordan, who has described himself as “an inexperienced sailor”, showed incredibly poor judgement in his decision to set off in to the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras in January with the weather forecast predicting storms. When north-easterly winds off Cape Hatteras  blow against the current of the Gulf Stream, they can create incredibly steep and dangerous waves.  The conditions can be terribly violent and unpredictable. Jordan sailed straight into the waters that are known, for good reason, as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” He is indeed lucky to be alive.

Thanks to Miroslav Antic and Alaric Bond for contributing to the post.

This entry was posted in Current, Lore of the Sea and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to Louis Jordan, Sixty Six Days Adrift — What Really Happened?

  1. Rob G. says:

    Thanks for giving me a version of this story that my logical mind can process. Sailing on now.

  2. Jon Hansen says:

    As a lifelong sailor and an ASA Certified Instructor, I am more than curious about how this boat became disabled and inoperative, what damages were sustained and what level of skill this fellow has. I have read and watched all the accounts of this incident but found no details. It would take some extremely violent weather and extra-large waves to roll this heavy cruising boat 180 degrees. If it indeed happened that way, and the boat was still afloat, it is self-righting because of the 5300 lb. lead keel. Even if the mast was torn away, the boat could be bailed out and a jury-rig constructed. If the rudder was missing, this too can be jury-rigged. Even without a GPS or compass, west is still where the sun sets. Adequate seamanship skills may have prevented this person’s 66 day ordeal and USCG resources spent. This boat appears to be a Pearson-Alberg 35, first built in 1961. These boats are built like a Sherman Tank. Sailing offshore in a 50 + year old boat behooves it’s master to certify it’s structural integrity and seaworthiness. Carrying the simple materials required for a jury rig is basic common sense.

  3. Rick Spilman says:

    From what I have read and have seen in interviews, Louis Jordan is an unexperienced sailor. Indeed that is how he describes himself. He showed extremely bad judgement in sailing into the Gulf Stream in January with storms in the forecast. It is unclear exactly what happened when he was capsized, except that he says that he was down below and asleep. My guess is that he left the boat lying ahull when he went below to sleep. When the boat was knocked down or capsized, he apparently broke a collar bone, which limited his ability make repairs. I doubt that he had the gear aboard to jury rig a mast or rudder, even if he did have the knowledge which I doubt.

  4. Mike Smith says:

    Your version makes a lot more sense. But in 66 days in the Gulf Stream, why didn’t he drift farther? I’d think he’d have been almost to Ireland by now, but maybe I’m missing something.

  5. Mike Smith says:

    OK, I’m exaggerating: Maybe not almost to Ireland, but 500 or 600 miles along the way. Sixty-six days is almost 1,600 hrs. — at even half a knot drift, that’s nearly 800 miles. And without a rig, the boat would have been more affected by current than wind.

  6. Steve Olson says:

    Here is a post that this guy wrote on Cruisersforum only about six months before this ordeal began. I have my doubts, mainly due to his condition when found, but, after reading his post, I’m not surprised that he did not have any proper safety equipment (i.e., EPIRB/PLB, waterproof handheld VHF radio, flaregun, proper ditch bag, liferaft, etc.). There will always be people without proper respect for the sea:

    “What’s the best way to arrange the sails? Sometimes I had to put a lot of pressure on the rudder to keep the boat from drifting towards shore. Sometimes I had the jib set so that it would stop the boat from putting too turning too hard towards either shore! That was golden. Sometimes when I adjusted the jib, the boat wanted to turn more towards starboard, or port. I’m still not sure how to detect exactly when an accidental jybe is going to take place. Those things are freaking scary! esp. w/ a wooden boom. Sometimes, the only way I can go forward is w/ the engine, & then both sails are flapping wildly, but being single-handed, sometimes I just have to let them flap. I still get turned around into a 360 sometimes too.
    Learning to sail is fun, but, I got a lot to learn.”

  7. Rick Spilman says:

    Wow. A bit scary. No, a lot scary. Thanks for passing the post along.

  8. Timothy Richards says:

    That post says it all. If I couldn’t control my boat better then that I would stay on shore. I am a mostly armchair sailor, but I can do better then that!

  9. Ken Potter says:

    If he was dismasted in the Gulf Stream 66 days ago he would have been picked up near Ireland…… still more to this story.

  10. Kurt says:

    FYI – He left out of Winyah Bay; essentially at Cape Romain, 3 capes S of Hatteras. The Stream in this area is 50-60 miles offshore, runs along the ‘break’, or edge of continental shelf in a SW – NE direction, and is easily considered deadly in a NE’er. Inside of there our waters are shallow, and due to this storm seas frequently get ‘square’ (period & height the same) and in excess of 10′. His leaving at the time of year with the forecast we had, was nothing short of an incredibly inexperienced (to be kind) decision, and that he survived, against any odds that a local who knows these waters would give you.

  11. Gary Hill says:

    Some people should not ha ve children so they don’t pass their genes along.

  12. David Wood says:

    In June, 1984 I was in command of the USCGC BIBB (WHEC 31) out of New Bedford. Our mission for the summer was cadet training, and after embarking cadets at New London we sailed to Washington for a brief port visit before heading to sea to conduct training and law enforcement. As we were steaming down Chesapeake Bay we learned of a massive air search for a 60+ year old man who had sailed (with only his dog for crew) in a ferro-cement sloop he had built in his back yard, for a visit to his daughter in Maryland. He hadn’t arrived, nor had the boat been sighted, and eventually the search was suspended pending further developments.

    About four weeks later, we returned to Norfolk to disembark the cadets before returning to New Bedford. While there, we received word that the day before a westbound merchant ship had sighted a dismasted sailboat southeast of Sable Island; the ship had hailed the boat and asked if assistance was needed, and the skipper replied that he wasn’t sure where he was, but he was doing OK. That night another sighting was reported, and it was confirmed that this was the missing sailboat and the skipper now realized he needed some assistance. Uncertain as to whether this momentary flash of sanity would stick, the USCG Atlantic Area command invoked its authority to terminate the voyage as “manifestly unsafe”, and BIBB was ordered to proceed at best possible speed to rescue the man (and his dog).

    We found him after some 24 hours of steaming at 18 knots, adrift in the Gulf Stream and on his way to Ireland. The boat was dismasted, and a mess (ankle deep in dog poop, among other things). The engine wasn’t working. But skipper and dog were happy enough, subsisting on fish they were catching He had no idea where he was, and had no charts for anything north of Cape Henry–as well as no navigational capability. Our crew jury-rigged him a sail, got the engine started, and we set off to escort the boat back to Nantucket. It wasn’t long before we decided to take it in tow, and it was a long slow tow (in very nice weather, fortunately).

    We headed into home port via Nantucket Sound. The next day we read in the local paper that our rescued skipper had become quite a hero in Nantucket, and was telling reporters that he planned to repair his boat when he got home and do some more seafaring.

    Hopefully, he didn’t. He was a very lucky man.

  13. Tom Gillette says:

    Mike Smith’s idea of plotting the proposed shipwrecked course 600 to 800 miles away towards Ireland makes the most sense. Maybe the guy hid out to avoid a girlfriend for many weeks in some little, then went sailing one day and was resuced two days later.

  14. Phil says:

    He looks to healthy after 66 days.
    Is he part of the next reality show or be on Batchelor?

    I don’t watch any of that junk.

  15. Whitney "LandLubber" McGilicuddy III says:

    Clearly – the reporting here is rather shoddy. Not only has Jordan admitted that the boat righted itself (many times) but he also mentioned that he was cooking pancakes.

    More than likely – the German Tanker crew member who relayed that “they found him sitting on the hull” – really meant that “they found him sitting on the deck”. A simple lost in translation error – or again – pure shoddy reporting.

    Jordan also mentioned that he could not repair the boat. This makes perfect sense given his lack of sailing ability given a ship-shape boat!

  16. jm says:

    I wonder if he was acting out some movie … “All is Lost” maybe, or the documentary about Donald Crowhurst. In any case, he may have lived on fish … but there is something very fishy about the story. I can believe that he got through the stream, hit bad weather, lost his mast and then drifted. But not for 60 days. And there is no way he has been sitting on a turtled hull for two months. No way at all.

  17. Rick Spilman says:

    Reread the post, particularly the line: “Coast Guard spokesperson Lt Krystyn Pecora said Jordan survived eating the food he had on his boat, by collecting rain water and using a net to catch fish. She said he managed to stay hydrated by going inside his boat’s cabin a lot. Pecora said there were conflicting reports on whether Jordan’s boat capsized, but she said the boat was upright when they found it.”

    The Alberg 35 may have capsized but is self righting. He had some food and water onboard. He also had shelter below deck.

  18. Rick Spilman says:

    It is plausible that the Germans said that Jordan was sitting on the “hull.” It was a just shoddy reporting that turned that into “overturned hull” and “capsized hull.”

  19. Kurt says:

    I’ve read (but not yet confirmed) that he set out from Little River Inlet, not Winyah Bay as I had though. That doesn’t make much sense to me, since he would have had to travel farther to get there before going outside than if he had come S from Bucksport to Winyah. The entrance to LRI is 50 miles approx NE as the crow flies from the mouth of Winyah Bay.

  20. Ed says:

    More to this story than we know now.

    Dismasting an Alberg 35 is believable, a knockdown before dismantling is also believable. But a 360 degree roll of this boat seems incredible, especially after the rig was gone.

    Cooking pancakes? Sounds like he had food, propane and water tanks.

    Engine? Jury rigged sail? Gulf Stream?

    Was the boat scuttled after the “rescue” was done?

  21. Whitney "LandLubber" McGilicuddy III says:

    Louis Jordan said of the German tanker:

    ‘They saw me on the front of my boat standing up there waving my arms,’ he told the Today show of the huge German ship after he left hospital. ‘And they turned that huge skyscraper around.’

    This says me to me that the boat was right side up, seaworthy – and that Jordan was standing at the bow. Possibly with huge fried pancakes in his hand.

    Surely – at some point during the ordeal the boat rolled over (partially most likely) – and can be considered for the sake of argument – an “over-turned boat”. So technically when they found him standing at the bow – he was standing on a boat that at some point in the past 66 days had overturned – or as the media would say – an “overturned boat”.

  22. Bob Triggs says:

    Without a completed official investigation report to follow up with, almost none of the reporting on this case has turned out to be complete or true. And yet everyone is an expert on it. Sad times.

  23. Pingback: Reporting of Lost-at-Sea Rescue Less than Accurate | Working Harbor Committee

  24. SailingShoes says:

    Seems to me that he’d have had difficulty walking. He mentions conserving energy by moving as little as possible, yet he was able to walk unaided as soon as he was rescued. He states that his face was clean shaven when he departed, but his beard is longer than the hair on his head. He did not looks particularly scruffy, or sound hoarse, as one who has not spoken for 60+ days. His clothes seem to fit properly in spite of a 50-90 pound weigh loss, and it is interesting that the only book he did not lose was his bible, in which he states he took notes. I am surprised that he lost much of his food and other supplies overboard, but managed to hang on to a writing implement…

  25. Rick Spilman says:

    Where did you read that he lost much of his food and supplies overboard? I have not seen any such claim. Indeed the LA Times refers to him cooking pancakes on a propane stove. He was living aboard the boat when he departed so having supplies aboard is not very surprising. And why should he lack the ability to walk? Long distance cruisers cross the Pacific and remain ambulatory.

  26. SailingShoes says:

    Also, if he was living aboard, in port, he would most likely have had fewer provisions n hand than suggested. It would take a 5 gallon bucket of flour MINIMUM to provide 2-3 pancakes a day, and a boat that small just doesn’t allow one to store provisions in bulk. I could see storing staples like rice and flour in quantities of up to 10 pounds, but know that when my Dad lived about a 32 footer, he grumbled about the fact that you pay more per ounce for smaller packages, but have to bite the bullet because you haven’t got room for larger packages.

  27. SailingShoes says:

    If he had not moved much for 66 days, I’d expect his muscles to have atrophied. Long distance sailors are constantly on the move, adjusting sails and lines, and not forced to conserve energy due to limited rations.

    In an early interview, he was lamenting the loss of his “store of rice and all of his books” shortly after the first time the boat capsized.

    He also stated on camera that he DID know where he was at all times as his navigation equipment was working, he simply had no means of communication.

  28. SailingShoes says:

    “By the time cameras caught up with him, Jordan, who claims his shoulder was broken when his boat overturned, wore a backpack, declined medical help and showed “no obvious signs of injury,” according to the Daily Mail.

    Despite claiming to lose 50 pounds after his canned food ran out and he was reduced to raw fish, the amateur sailor appeared robust and upbeat as he exited a rescue helicopter and walked without assistance, according to video footage published by the Daily Mail.”

  29. Rick Spilman says:

    I lived aboard my boat for a half dozen years and I generally kept it reasonably well stocked, far more than when I lived ashore and I only provisioned as necessary. As Jordan had lost track of even how many days that he was out, I doubt that he kept track of his position. Given his lack of experience in sailing I suspect he is about as knowledgeable in navigation. When he said he conserved his energy, I doubt that meant that he was wholly immobile.

    But believe what you want. His story strikes me as more probable than not. He strikes me as dangerously inept but very lucky.

  30. Janessa says:

    I am wondering why no one mentions Louis buying this boat last year with the need of several thousands of dollars worth of repairs neccessary before it was capable of off shore use. The questions he was asking only 6 months ago show he had no knowledge or previous sailing experience. He was doing odd jobs at marina but otherwise unemployed. There are more questions than concrete answers in this story. But a few things can not be disputed. Only being found 200 miles out when he should have been closer to Ireland in 66 days by wind alone. I don’t care how much time he spend in the cabin he would have had wobbly legs for awhile; not one mis-step and then a solid unwavering stride. LJ claims his cabin was swamped and he was constantly bailing water. If so other claims impossible. The truth when told does not change.

  31. Rick Spilman says:


    I don’t claim to know the “truth.” I do know that many of the facts you cite are not necessarily correct.

    Yes, Jordan was, as he claimed “inexperienced.” I think that may be too generous a term, but be that as it may. I too have read that his boat was not in good shape, specifically related to soggy core in his deck, which would have made dismasting more likely in a knockdown or capsize. So far this is in line with his story.

    Regarding the boat’s position, look at yesterday’s post, Derelicts Adrift — Angel & Fannie E Wolston. Where the wind and current can take a drifting object is far more complicated than most imagine. Unless one has all the data, claiming to know where his boat should have drifted is impossible.

    Given that Jordan was obviously active in an upright sailboat, even with his comments about conserving his energy, I don’t see any reason that he should have been “wobbly.” When Poon Lim, who set the record for surviving the longest in a life raft at 133 days at sea, was rescued he walked off the fishing boat that picked him up unaided.

    I heard Jordan say in an interview that the cabin was swamped after a capsize, which he had to bail out. I didn’t hear that he was constantly bailing. If that was the case, then he certainly would have gotten enough exercise to prevent him from looking too “wobbly.”

    There are many facts that we do not know, but overall Jordan’s story sounds plausible to me.

  32. Carl Burkart says:

    What is the current status of LJ’s 35′ sailboat? Still adrift ? Scuttled? Does anyone know?

  33. Rick Spilman says:

    From all I have heard, Jordan’s Alberg 35 was afloat when he left it. If may be adrift or it may have taken on water and sunk. I don’t believe that it was intentionally scuttled.

  34. Carl Burkart says:

    Does anyone have a Coast Guard contact ,a contact at the Carolina Marina , or perhaps even contact with Louis Jordan who can shed some light as to the current sailboat status or disposition? If this was my boat I would certainly want to initiate salvage operations and bring it back to port rather than leave it adrift at sea where it surely presents a shipping hazard.

  35. Louis Jordan says:

    Thank you all for your comments. I enjoyed reading every one of them. There is at least one youtube video showing me taking mis-steps after getting off the chopper, but Kyle put his hand on my back. I just now got over the sea-legs.
    That video really says a lot. Thanks to whoever posted it. I was wondering if I’d ever see the whole thing.
    I had no idea how dangerous it was, and I ask any inexperienced sailors to not attempt such a thing. I wouldn’t have made it without prayer. All the glory goes to God. He answered prayer after prayer out there and the 3 times I capsized were when my mind was feeling way overconfident, which I go into detail in my book, which isn’t done yet. As was said in the interview, I had way too much faith in my boat & went to sleep during the 1st capsizing. Anyways, it’s a miracle. & the boat’s name was Angel when I bought her. & I’m told I was out 66 days, & there are 66 books in the Bible, & 66 chapters in Isaiah, which was one of my favorites, being how I focused on prophesy. The river Jordan is mentioned a lot in there too! A Youtube commenter mentioned those facts, which I just discovered, but I just had 1 miracle after another out there. It’s good to see others who know what it’s like. No one mentioned that I taste tested a man-o-war & survived that too 😛
    I did create a jury-mast that actually survived about 3 storms before it got lost. Nearly pinched my fingers a few times w/ that thing, but eventually I figured out how to turn the boat around w/ the staysail alone in good winds. If I lowered it 2 feet & let the sheet out a few feet, after a while the boat would gybe around. Took a while to figure out though.
    I had a jury mast too. I used a 7′ or 8′ pole & attached it to where the mast’s boot(?) was. The entire mast & boom were dropped overboard after the dismasting & I didn’t want to believe it was possible either, but I did have 2 more capsizings after it went over.
    Well, keep the questions rolling, cause I’m researching for my book. What do you want to know?

  36. Louis Jordan says:

    replace jury-mast w/ jury-rudder

  37. Joyce Moscato says:

    Louis, we’re happy to hear from you and glad you survived! I think the sloppy and inaccurate media coverage has stirred up a hornet’s nest unnecessarily. The one outstanding question that has gone unanswered is: Why were you not carried further north by the gulfstream? We can’t figure out why you didn’t drift much further away during that whole time. Would love to know!

  38. Dave says:

    Because you had a compass on board, were you able to have an idea the direction you were drifting each day? If you knew roughly your position at the first roll, would you have been able to have a general idea of your position moving forward?

    Glad you’re alive.

  39. Rick Spilman says:

    Dave, how would a compass be useful to measure drift?

  40. Dave says:

    Rick. My thought is that between the sun rising in the east, and a compass, he could determine of rough set. Not drift. Drift is speed. Set is direction. But might assume a drift of a knot maybe? Might provide clues on where he was for 66 days. It will take the experts to re create Stream position and related eddies. He could have been drifting west of the Stream between SC and Diamond Shoals the entire time.

  41. Louis Jordan says:

    The wind often changed directions. Sometimes in a pressure system, the wind would start S, then SW, W, NW, then N, then NE, almost making a big circle. I figured this out towards the end. I’m not quite sure why this happened, but the strongest winds were during these pressure systems.

    My GPS devices, including cellphone, Garmin Nuvi, tablet to GPS device w/ Bluetooth, & the chartplotter all quit working after getting immersed. The lowrance chartplotter was the biggest disappointment.

    All my star charts were on my laptop & tablet, which were both broken. I doubt the current was really 4 knots. The captain I talked to said it could be as low as half a knot and I spent a lot of time sailing somewhat West.

    Does this info help anyone? One warm day when the winds were calm, a very rare day, in the middle of the trip, the waters were full of Sargose(sp?) seaweed w/ the bubbles. It’s brown colored & has dime-sized crabs living in it. The seaweed was everywhere, and there was lots of other life too, like man-o-wars. I saw a big red jellyfish & a few other fish that day too. The waves were so calm. It sounded like a running brook. That was the only day like that. Was that the Sargasso sea? or just some strange colony of seaweed floating by? I can’t tell you why or how I ended up where they found me, but I can tell you that the Houston Express’s 1st mate told me I was 550 miles out max. I know that doesn’t match up w/ the 350 miles max that the reporters said. I had no GPS. I don’t know for sure.

  42. Dave says:

    Thanks for the reply.

  43. Joyce Moscato says:

    Yes, very helpful — thanks Louis. Sounds like you may have been in a Gulf Stream eddy.

  44. Dave says:

    Louis. Weather systems cross the continental US in a general three day pattern. You described a low pressure system. If you had been well offshore-east of the Gulf Stream-you might have felt more consistent Easterly wind; the Atlantic High that spins clockwise. Any chance you might have kept a weather log? Maybe backtrack thru previous weather patterns combined with re-creation of Stream and related eddies might provide an indication where you actually traveled.

  45. Carl Burkart says:

    Good to hear from you Louis!
    God obviously has plans for you, hopefully not sea related.
    Could you please elaborate and advise as to the current status of your sailboat , the Angel?
    When will your book be available?
    My e-mail address: Cdburk533@aol.com
    All the Best!!

  46. Louis Jordan says:

    The Angel was taking on 100 gallons a day. I had to bail an hour a day at before the rescue. It gradually got worse as time went on, especially after the last near-capsize. Having all that extra water-weight in the bilge helped keep it from capsizing, but it put extra strain on the keel, IMHO, and I’m only guessing here based on the sounds it made, and how violently it rocked and reacted under different conditions.

    Angel got turned around quite often in all directions. If the wind blew NE, then Angel would either go SE or NW. I put a lot of effort into keeping it on the Westerly direction, but I wasn’t always successful. I had no idea where I was most of the time. I hoped that the extremely warm waters that I was sometimes in were the gulf-stream, but I couldn’t tell. Most of the time the waves were big and violent, especially to a man with a broken shoulder. It helps to be able to hold on w/ both hands when in such situations.
    Angel might still be afloat, but it’s not likely she’ll make it to Europe.
    The log got wet. I couldn’t write in it.
    I hear that the coast guard searched for me south of Little river due to the N winds. It seemed like the winds were constantly changing to me, from one day to the next. I couldn’t get a good average. One day it would be N, then the next day NE, then the next day S. I wasn’t paying much attention to remembering which way it was blowing, but I recall the water being extremely warm on different occasions, but at other times it was cold.

  47. Dave says:

    Louis. Thanks once again for responding to my questions. Best to you. Dave

  48. Greg Vitaich says:

    Question: Where is the yacht “Angel”
    Answer: At the bottom of the Atlantic.
    Why: Because as Mr. Jordan has stated on this blog ” Angel was taking on 100 gals of water a day”. That was 15 days ago or 1500 gals.. That is 12,660 lbs. of water. No more Bail’y ….No more Boat’y.
    The flood rate of the boat increased as it settled. Water would begin flowing up the head and galley sink drains as neither had seacocks.
    Mr. Jordan has stated in an interview that both cockpit drains were plugged .
    I have not looked at the weather conditions in the area after Mr. Jordan was rescued. Assuming good weather, and the flooding rate stated by Mr. Jordan I think the ” Angel” probably sunk along about April 8th or 9th. But many things could effect that. Did Mr. Jordan button up the Angel as he left her ? Were any hatches, ventilators or windows carried away in the THREE capsizing events? Were any through-hull fittings carried away? Were the seacocks on the engine cooling and exhaust system closed ?
    Of course we will never know the answers because “Angel” is on the bottom of the Atlantic now.
    Question: Did Mr. Jordan take his cell phone, Laptop, tablet and Garmin GPS with him when he was rescued ? Soaked or not data can be recovered.
    Question: The number of pictures of Mr. Jordan by Mr. Jordan taken prior to his departure present on the internet makes me ask, did he take any pictures with his phone or tablet or laptop during his voyage ? Soaked or not they can be recovered and the date and time is embedded in the image file.

  49. John miller says:

    Yes, well although I am sure mr. Jordan is a very lovely person, and certainly there are people in the world who have done much worse things than fabricate a rescue/hero story , I can’t imagine there is much doubt about the the falsehood of his story after reading his responses here. 66 books in the bible? Isaiah? His forthcoming book? (!!!!). Ahem.

    Sadly the vigorous debate about his lack of drift received a dose of reality with the lost teenagers from tequesta florida this past weekend, their empty , capsized boat was found more than 180 miles north of their launch point less than two days later. Two days.

    Gulf stream eddy, Sargasso Sea, Bermuda triangle, or sailing in circles would not explain how more than two months at sea mr Jordan was only 200 miles from home.

    Unless the majority of the time he was, in fact, at home.

  50. Rick Spilman says:

    John Miller, there are any number of well documented cases where boats drifted in circles. The currents off the Carolina coast are complicated. The Labrador current flowing south hits the Gulf Stream flowing north.

    Here are the cases of two derelicts which drifted for years.


    More recently, the Gunboat cat Rainmaker drifted almost due East instead of being carried along by the Gulf Stream.


  51. John miller says:

    Good evening rick, I looked at both of your articles, – and while interesting, neither lend much credence to mr. Jordan’s fantasy.

    Yes the 1891 boat did end up – eventually – back near the east coast, but several years later, after it had drifted somewhere close to 10,000 miles! Looking at the chart in the article, after the initial two months – from mid October to jan 1 1892 the boat was in the vicinity of the Azores. Not exactly stationary.

    And the catamaran is a special kind of boat, I have sailed on them many times, they are really like leaf on the ocean , they are barely affected by any currents at all and get blown about mostly by the wind. Mr Jordan’s boat is more typical however , rather like a bar of soap , affected much more by water currents – in this case the Gulf Stream – and much less by the winds.

    Unfortunately the lack of drift is but one of many many holes in the good gentlemans story.

    With all due respect.
    J. Miller.

  52. Rick Spilman says:

    We will obviously disagree. Your opinions are fine, but I see very little to support them.

  53. David says:

    I love it when someone can read between the lines in stories and pick out the truth. I think another thing that happened with this story is that Louis Jordan made the mistake of giving God credit for helping him through this ordeal, especially by pointing out how rainwater came just when he needed it. Some people in our society just can’t stand a story that gives God any acknowledgement, so they invented the story that he must be lying. Thank you Rick Spilman for giving us a truthful and factual story that helps us understand how the Washington Post got their story so wrong.

  54. Rick Spilman says:

    I think the biggest problem was that one Chief Petty Officer got the story wrong when he reported that Jordan was sitting on his overturned sailboat for over 60 days. It was a good story so the media ran with it, even though it had been corrected by the Coast Guard and others. It was an easy mistake for journalists to make.

  55. David says:

    To John Miller, Louis Jordan did say that he tried to sail westerly at times with a makeshift rudder or learning to adjust the sails to steer. He would get maybe a speed of 2 knots / hr with those attempts. There were times when the winds were coming from a direction that would work against the current. There really is no reason to doubt his account. Also, the CBS story reported he was 500 miles from where he started, and Louis Jordan said that the first mate on the rescuing ship reported it to be about 550 miles. I’m not sure why you claim he was only 200 miles.

  56. David says:

    @Rick Spilman, yeah, that idea of him sitting on a capsized boat caused me to doubt his story too. I had read the Washington Post. It was not until I searched for more information and then found and read your article here, and also saw the full video of his interview that SailingShoes posted above, then the truth came out and made much more sense. I truly think that some people in journalism got very upset about that interview, hearing him say that he read the Bible all the way through while out there, and that the Bible is great to open up the mind. Basically it sounded like Louis Jordan had a spiritual experience out at sea. So much so that he does not regret the incident because it allowed him to rethink what is important in life. At that point, some people are going to want to squash his story for all kinds of anti-religious irrational reasons.

  57. Jerome watts says:

    Jordan set sail in january. Why didn’t die from exposure, starvation, dehydration or sun poison? Inexperienced sailor, no mention of panic attacks. The was no blistering of his skin. My dad spent 20 years in the navy. Almost all that time was at sea, because he was a master Chief Petty Officer. All I learned from my dad about boats adrift he would indeed be half way to Europe. Also having no real experience at sea he would have plain died. Oh not to mention he is writing a book about his unbelievable survival adventure.

  58. Rick Spilman says:

    You ignore the fact that Jordan had food shelter and clothing aboard the boat. Did you read the post before responding to it?

  59. Greg Vitaich says:

    Buried deep in the acronym laden, military gibberish filled Coast Guard Report, is a tidbit of relevant information which concludes any speculation as to the veracity of Mr. Jordan’s story of 66 days at sea. As reported by a ferry operator, early in the time period during which Mr. Jordan states he was adrift…he was anchored near light nineteen in the Cape Fear river.