More stories of the recovery spotlight on Captain Rick of S/V Cimarron

This week Alain Brin from Blueglass Photography and I set out on the water.   We met up with Captain Rick Smith and first mate Kara aboard Cimarron Yacht Charters .  Cimarron has been offering day charters to the BVI and USVI for nine years.

The 43'ft classic wooden yawl offers her guests a true sailing adventure ..  Captain Rick’s vast sailing experience and crystal clears waters of the Caribbean create the perfect day on the water.  Cimarron's guests will enjoy the open bar and great snorkel spots along the way.

cimarron at full sail

Both Rick and Kara were off island during the storms. Rick sails north each hurricane season to home in Maine. Kara was with family in Colorado. 

This year Rick set sail in the beginning of July with three crew members for the two week trip back to Maine.  One of the crew was Rick's longtime friend and fellow charter boat Captain Richard Benson.

richard benson.JPG

The trip was smooth sailing with one week to Bermuda, stopping for provisions, The 2nd half of the trip  from Bermuda to Maine.  Two days prior to arriving in the Maine harbor, the watch for other boats, rocks and reefs intensified due to the dense fog,common in the area. This means a sleepless 48 hours for the captain as he assures a safe arrival.

Once the trip was completed, Captain Richard flew back to St John to spend the summer chartering his boat S/V Athena.

In early September with a very active hurricane season, Richard was busy preparing to secure Athena for safety.  He anchored Athena in Coral Bay harbor, as there was no space in Hurricane Hole preparing for the Cat 5 storm approaching.

The day after hurricane Irma, a roll call was set up by a FB group to alert friends and family of their loved one's safety.  In the days following as some communication was available,  all St Johnian's were eventually accounted for except for Richard and S/V Athena.  For days, Richard's friends and loved ones worked dligently to find him.  With communication almost nil on the islands, Rick was able to communicate with a friend on St John via a satilite phone.  

Sadly, Richard's body was located in Tortola 12 days after the storm.  Then began the 2 month ordeal of bringing Richard back to the USVI for burial.  On November 7, 2017 a floatilla brought Rick's friend back to the USVI.  An armada of boats, filled with friends and family of Capt Benson's met at the international boundary line and escorted him to the USVI. The procession would run along the north shore of St. John, Cruz Bay, and Frank Bay.  At Frank Bay, a moment of silence. toast to the Captain, and sendoff.

hurricane Irma.jpg

The past few months have given St Johnians incrediable losses, some material, some economic and for some, the greatest loss, a dear friend.  Within each loss lies a gift.  It may not be evident at first, the pain can mask it, but in time the gift shines through. 

For me, the gift from Captain Richard is a glorious sunset over Frank Bay.  His essense is there.


art by Elaine Estern of Coconut Coast Art Gallery