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Old 05-08-2014, 15:47   #1
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Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

KEY LARGO: Rescuers search in Keys waters for 24-year-old man whose sailboat was seen sinking with no one aboard - Breaking News - MiamiHerald.com

Rescuers search in Keys waters for man whose sailboat was seen sinking with no one aboard




A boater spotted Noah Cullen's 28-foot sailboat, Jubilee, sinking offshore of Key Largo with no one aboard, but a search has not turned up either Cullen or the boat. Courtesy of Annie Cullen / Courtesy of Annie Cullen








By Cammy Clark

cclark@MiamiHerald.com

KEY LARGO -- Boat captain Noah Cullen set sail by himself Monday morning from his mother’s house in Key Largo, but something went terribly wrong during his return to shore.
His 28-foot sailboat, Jubilee, was spotted drifting near Dixie Shoal, about seven nautical miles northeast of Molasses Reef, at about 2:30 p.m. Nobody was aboard, and a lightning storm had just passed through the area.
The boater took a picture of the vessel, which clearly was taking on water and looked like it was about to sink, and alerted authorities.
Since then, the Coast Guard has conducted nine searches by air and sea, covering 1,100 nautical square miles, with no sign of Cullen, 24, or his boat, said Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios of Coast Guard District 7. “And it’s still an active search,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
The search also includes the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department’s Emergency Water Team, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and individuals with boats and aircraft.
“I’m hoping that he just swam and swam through the night,” said his mother, Tanya Cleary. “He might just be so exhausted that he is sleeping somewhere in the mangroves. That’s the best-case scenario I’m thinking about right now.”
After leaving his mother’s house off mile marker 100, Cullen and his boat with a Bahamian flag were spotted at noon at French Reef by a boat captain with Quiessence Dive Center.
“He had just gotten out of the water after free diving and was witnessed setting sail toward shore,” said Rob Bleser, owner of the dive center and captain of the Emergency Water Team. “The captain watching him was impressed with his abilities.”
At that point Cullen was under full sail, and Bleser said his boat captain watched him go as far as White Bank Dry Docks, which is about 3 miles from shore. About an hour after Cullen left French Reef, the storm rolled in.
“There was lots of lightning, heavy rain and winds up to 25 knots,” said Stephen Chesser, a meteorologist at the National Weather Station in Key West.
At first, when Cleary heard her son was free diving by himself, she feared he might have suffered a shallow water blackout, when a free diver loses consciousness close to the surface.
“But when I saw the report that he got back on the boat and headed toward Dry Rocks, we think he was done free diving for the day and was headed in,” Cleary said.
When the sailboat was seen drifting, its anchor was up, another sign that it was a boating accident and not a free-diving mishap.
The sailboat’s front mast was reefed, indicating that Cullen ran into heavy winds.
The sailboat was seen drifting several miles northeast from the Dry Rocks, which likely means it was going in that direction due to the currents or storm winds.
Cullen recently had painted the boat’s hull and had taken it for a sail with no problems on Saturday. “I don’t think the boat was defective in any way,” Cleary said.
Cullen, a 2008 graduate of Coral Shores High School in the Upper Keys, is an experienced sailor. His mother said he began taking lessons at just 5 years old, and was a natural.
“He is a water boy,” she said.
Cullen also is a dive master and had acquired his 50-ton captain’s license.
He has sailed solo to the Bahamas. “I worried much more about him doing that than this,” Cleary said. “He assured me when he went to the Bahamas he was tethered to his boat and had a spot locator. I think this time he was so close to home he was comfortable in his environment and was not tethered. I don’t think he had his spot locator on.”
If Cullen was knocked off his boat in the storm, Cleary takes some comfort knowing that her son is an adventurer. “My friend always said if we were on Survivor or some other disaster show, they’d want Noah with us.”
Cullen has read survival books, knew the waters off Key Largo “like the back of his hand,” can navigate by the stars, is a strong swimmer and has camped out in the Everglades, his mother said.
His adventuresome spirit also led to him getting a pilot’s license at just 17. “I think he soloed after only nine hours in the air,” Cleary said. “He taught himself mostly on a simulator.”
Two years ago, Cullen’s father died unexpectedly. So he started helping out his mother at the family business, Dream Bay Resorts in Key Largo.
“He recently was going to go back to college,” she said. “He had enrolled at FKCC [Florida Keys Community College] for marine biology.”
Cleary is holding out hope that her son will be found soon. “It really was agony to go through last night, thinking of him floating in the water in the dark,” she said. “But I know if anybody can survive this, Noah can.”
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Old 30-08-2014, 18:49   #2
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

It seems that through the effort of friends and fellow divers, the yacht of Noah Cullen, has been located about a mile NE of his last known position. Photos show fairly clear images of the "Jubilee" lying on the ocean floor in 300' of water.

A sad ending as some seem to believe that he may have been struck by lightning, which probably holed the boat, and his body may still be aboard.

The article can be viewed on "Keys Net" a Florida Keys news site.
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Old 30-08-2014, 19:53   #3
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

Weird.

No liferaft?
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Old 30-08-2014, 20:20   #4
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

How sad...

Appears to be a pretty experienced sailor. Makes a great case for vests and PLBs at all times when solo.
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Old 30-08-2014, 20:55   #5
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

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Old 30-08-2014, 21:02   #6
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

I wonder if there's more to the story....if the guy was so "survival conscious" he knew to stay inside the cone of protection so doubtful lightning got him and the boat.

A lot doesn't add up...it will be interesting what the media digs up and speculates on...till something positive is known.
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Old 30-08-2014, 21:12   #7
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Weird.

No liferaft?

You should know that liferafts, EPIRBs are for pussys according to many here.

Condelonces to the family of the lost sailor. Sad
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Old 31-08-2014, 03:21   #8
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

We were out that day and saw the storm that passed over where he would have been. There was an incredible about of lightning more than I had seen in a long time. Glad were not in it, just a few miles away and it was scary.
Condolences to the family. Im guessing it was lightning that hit the boat and probably knocked him overboard impressive they found the boat. It would be interesting to have a deep diver determine cause of sinking.

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Old 31-08-2014, 07:38   #9
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

My condolences to the family. Clearly he was a well liked young man. The community searched for close to a month. Comparing the photos of the sinking boat in early articles to throne in the most recent it certainly looks to be Jubilee. Hopefully it will bring some closure to his family.

What I still don't understand is why whoever took the photo of the sinking boat didn't try to check if it had occupants.





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Old 01-09-2014, 20:37   #10
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
We were out that day and saw the storm that passed over where he would have been. There was an incredible about of lightning more than I had seen in a long time. Glad were not in it, just a few miles away and it was scary.
Condolences to the family. Im guessing it was lightning that hit the boat and probably knocked him overboard impressive they found the boat. It would be interesting to have a deep diver determine cause of sinking.

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Good reminder to have that Life jacket on.
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Old 08-09-2014, 14:54   #11
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

Tech divers needed in boat recovery | KeysNews.com

Just found this update article on the search for Noah Cullen.
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Old 23-09-2014, 11:54   #12
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

Grim news, but not unexpected:

Possible human remains found inside sunken sailboat off Key Largo | News - Home
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Old 23-09-2014, 12:29   #13
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

Quote:
Originally Posted by downunder View Post
You should know that liferafts, EPIRBs are for pussys according to many here.
Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell us how a liferaft would have helped in this situation?
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Old 23-09-2014, 15:51   #14
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

Weavis, you are dead right on this one. Not a big fan of life rafts, but they can and have saved many lives are under certain conditions but are to me a false sense of security.

Apparently a direct lightning hit in this case. No safety gear will mitigate this type event.

RIP NOAH, you departed this world enjoying what you valued.
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Old 25-09-2014, 07:00   #15
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Re: Noah Cullen lost overboard from s/v Jubilee off Key Largo

A real tragedy. If I'm not mistaken, there are few if any known lightning fatalities in insurance stats on sailboats. (I believe I read in BOAT US magazine somewhere)
I recall them saying that the risk in powerboats was much greater.

Since he was inside, are we speculating that a direct lightning hit electrocuted him and also blew a hole in boat, or blew out a throughhull? Yikes if so on having both of the worst luck scenarios for lightning strikes.
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