Piece of sunken sailboat surfaces in Greenport — maybe

08/19/2018 6:00 AM |

Greenport resident Mimi Meyers was walking her dog on Conkling Point Tuesday around 9 a.m. with her grandson, Bob Meyers, 10, when she nearly tripped over a 10-foot plank of varnished mahogany.

“From the way it was glued together, it looked like the kind of wood that’s used to make sailboats,” Ms. Meyers said.

She had read the Shelter Island Reporter article about Badger, the 31-foot sailboat that sunk off Conklin Point Aug. 1, and thought the plank of wood resembled its upper rim. While she and her husband, Gary Mangus are not entirely sure it’s a piece of Badger, they think it’s “about the right length.”

“Given the condition of the plank, it seems like the boat got beat up pretty bad down there,” said Mr. Mangus, who sometimes watches the Wednesday Night races from the Point.

As the owner of the boat, Ross Allonby, and two guests onboard passed Conkling Point near the Southold side that evening, they were hit by a severe gust just as they crossed the tide line. Mr. Allonby pushed the tiller away and immediately tried to ease the mainsheet, but the mainsheet block had swiveled away from him and the line immediately next to the cleat was jammed behind a lifted floorboard. He was unable to release the mainsheet in the vital seconds needed to ease out the sail.

The vessel “broached,” or heeled over, with the sail laying flat in the water. It then filled with water and quickly began to submerge. The three sailors were rescued with no injuries, but Badger was gone in less than 60 seconds.

As of last week, Mr. Allonby was “95 percent confident” that he had spotted Badger’s wreckage south of the North Ferry on a sonar screen, and salvage plans were pending.

“A lot of times we get the kind of stuff that blows off sailboats, like lifejackets and so on,” Mr. Mangus said. “Or chunks of docks or construction materials. But this is the first time we’ve seen something like this.”

Ms. Meyers has contacted Mr. Allonby to see if he wants to retrieve or inspect the plank. She has not heard back from him yet.

“If he wants it back, it’s here,” she said.

Photo caption: From left, Gary Mangus, Bob Meyers, and Mimi Meyers stand on Conkling Point, with Shelter Island behind them, holding the 10-foot plank of wood that is suspected to be a piece of Badger. (Annabelle Woodward photo) 

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