John & Mary,
I am going to take a stab at this.
My 15 year old son and I showed up at Hobie Beach for the scheduled races on Saturday the 17th. John set up the course the way that Tradewinds was set up, windward / leeward with a gate. We had scheduled 4 races for the day and had completed two and had just started the third. We were roughly 400 yards off shore and about 600 yards south of the Rickenbacker Causeway. We were on port tack heading west at about 8 knots, Scotty was on the wire and I was sitting inboard in an attempt to lift the hull a little. All of the sudden I hear my son say Dad!, Dad! I looked to the right and saw the port side of this huge powerboat still on a plane. At the same moment that I looked the impact occurred, I had no opportunity to maneuver my boat. His boat was already crunching mine. A fraction of a second after the impact it seemed as if he made a full hard turn to starboard and all I could thing about was propellers. Next thing I know I was underwater, I think it was only for 3-4 seconds. When my PFD popped me up I immediately started scanning the surface for my son, he was no where in sight. I stated to panic but he came to the surface a few seconds later. He said he was pulled under by the trapeze and had to unhook to get free. I don't remember hearing anything until after I saw Scotty, then I head screaming on the power boat. All this happened so fast yet so slow. The images in my brain are very vivid, I noticed that I had lost a batten cap from the bottom batten as I saw the powerboat make impact. I can see the hole in the end of the boom where I had moved the block hanger. I can see the stainless rail on the powerboat and the chines in the lower section of the hull. I never saw the bow of the powerboat so that indicates that he hit me near the shrouds. Thatís all I can say about that. Soon after, all the catsailors were back at the scene making sure we were not hurt, thank fully nothing too serious.
He circled around and pulled us out of the water after about 5 minutes. The were apologetic although communication was difficult because of language barriers. I sat there on the powerboat watching my parts float away, everything was still connected by shrouds and sheets. Finally, a cop on a jet ski showed up and made sure we were OK and to report the accident to the Marine Patrol. He took the basic story, shook his head, and then ordered the power boat to stop and wait for the authorities. We must have waited for 3-4 hours for the right people to get there. The coast guard stopped by but then left, finally the Miami Police came by. At this point my son and swam back to Hobie Beach to get my truck and to retrieve the mangled mess from the beach. The police took the powerboat to the Miami Yacht Club where I met up with them with the remains of my boat. Now they put us in separate rooms and took written statements from everybody involved. I was given a case number and asked to provide witnesses, then sent home.
One of the eyewitnesses told me that the boat was traveling at "top speed" at the point of impact.
I want thank John McKnight, John Sherry, Mike Powers, Oriel, Rafael Quesada and his brother Jose and all the CABB sailors that helped recover the wreckage and for the obvious moral support that they provided by returning to the scene and hanging with us.
Lucky to be living,I will be back!
Eric Arbogast, Scott Arbogast
Miami Yacht Club