Real Coast Guard Rescues Fake Bro-Pirates

Ok, so the sea is a tricky place. We know that. But you, dear friends may not know this about your beloved The Clam: we used to work for Outward Bound in Maine years ago and have spent a lot of time sailing around rough water in rickety, open wooden boats. So we were sympathetic when the Liana’s Ransom, a fake pirate ship, was disabled off our coast and was abandoned after a rescue by Coastguardspersons from Gloucester Small Boat Station and Air Station Cape Cod. Word to the USCG, and anytime anyone makes that asshole joke that goes, “The worst thing you can ever hear are the words, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help'” feel free to punch them in the dick area and say, “Semper Paratus”.

However, when we started looking into the story we have to admit passing some judgement. They lost power? It’s a sail boat. Why didn’t they put a jib up or something? Again, we weren’t there but you know, that’s the standard procedure when on a sailboat, using the actual sails. It’s like in the name and everything. The story said their sails were all twisted around the mast. All of them? The jibs? Really guys?



Area of doubt #2 came after the rescue when she didn’t actually sink. This is sort of embarrassing. If you abandon a boat at sea after a distress call you really, really want it to dramatically slip beneath the waves on camera within the rotor wash of the helo winching the last survivor aboard, just for optics’ sake. However, abandoning a boat that keeps on floating is sort of bad form in the nautical world. It’s the equivalent of calling the cops in the middle of the night because an intruder is crawling in through your attic only to find out it’s squirrels. They’re going to be “yeah, right, abundance of caution and all that, can’t be too careful,” but you know when they get to the cruiser they’re going: “dumbass”.

I guess it was under threat of sinking? What the hell was going on? Then we saw this video interview of the crew post rescue.

Video from the Gloucester Daily Times

Oh. I get it. You were confined below decks and it was really…uncomfortable? Did we somehow miss the point in this story when the situation became actually life threatening? I’ve had experiences on the commuter rail this winter more harrowing than what was described in this vid. The background music of “Walking on Sunshine” didn’t help with the overall irreverent tone of this video. I’m pretty sure Howard Blackburn would be giving you guys the finger, but, well, you know…

I don’t mean to take umbrage here, but they sent our guys out there to rescue these chucklehads and though I have every faith our motor lifeboat crew is inherently capable of 10′ seas (they practice in much bigger surf), anytime you get two boats near each other in rough seas it involves an element of risk (the helicopter was for an injured crewmember and that seems totally legit). So, I still get that it was scary and everything. For instance we hear someone told the crew to ‘Call their mothers’ which is probably the first time that particular order has been given on a pirate ship, but after watching the video I’d ask the crew to maybe be a little less…flip? Maybe laugh about it not so much?

Yeah, flip. I know this sounds weird coming from your The Clam, but these guys were rescued in a fairly major operation from a boat that kept on floating. So, it’s sort of on the crew here to be somewhat contrite and spend a little time publicly thanking the living shit out of the CG and maybe hold off on telling the bro-tabulous tale of being below decks in a storm that produced swells somewhat larger than what we get here on a regular basis at this time of year.

Sure I know the bowsprit snapped and the chains holding the main were then compromised and the whole thing could have come crashing down. But when you go out and with two motors, have mechanical issues with both of them, are unable to get any sail up, then lose your bowsprit, you’re not demonstrating an abundance of seamanship here. This wasn’t a Nor’easter. This wasn’t the Perfect Storm. From the sounds of things it was more like Davey Jones’ Lockerroom.

But The Clam is honestly glad everyone is OK. Maybe we were just hoping for a little more Russell Crowe in Master and Commander and less Jack Spar-bro.

Oh, and one more thing. Unless you are a sniper or a rapper (signed to a label) the hat brim goes in front. Just a tip.





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  1. “But why is the rum gone?”

  2. And another thing: when will the media lame brains stop calling anything with a mast a Tall Ship? John Masefield must be spinning in his grave.

  3. You’re absolutely right that the video is a travesty and that humble thanks should have gone out to the coasties who risk their lives to save idiots like these guys who obviously have no idea how to handle themselves at sea. They’re like the increasing number of hikers who need to be rescued in the mountains because they thought all they needed to know was how to use their cellphones.

    • The coast guard were thanked over and over again in the many interviews given by the captain, the engineer, and the injured crew member. Try to focus on those interviews instead of this sensationalist attention-seeking by the one crew member who had no experience of sailing/ being at sea.

  4. Just spit coffee laughing at the Howard’s finger quip, just perfect!
    I’ve been out in every bit as bad, in a 22′ sloop.
    That said, this was a trifecta of FAIL.
    Lame untrained crew of primadonna theater types, doubtless now parlaying their experience into a reality series.
    You’re spot on all the way, Jim, but let me expound:
    1. Steel Welded Hull
    2. Steel Masts and Booms
    3. Bowsprit that did not extend 20% into foredeck
    4. Grossly undersized sailplan
    5. Rig guyed with chains? Who uses chains for cable?
    6. No storm anchor (drifted back ten miles overnight?)
    7. No serious attempt made to raise sail
    8. Parents involved at any level
    9. The have a Morgue on board (Always bad)
    10. Boat is terribly ugly

    The last time I was sailing in such conditions, on purpose by the way, I had the sense to turn downwind and with the directions of the seas and just wait until the wind clocked around the compass, as it ALWAYS does. But then again I had lots of experience, and a real boat under me, with a useable mast, boom, and two sets of sails. I didn’t have a motor.

    Hey “Pirates”, wear this epithet well: You Lubbers.

    • These guys are soft-handed, mush-brained, frat-party bros, who are certified pussies that only want the attention that drama queens like themselves desire and demand. This was determined by watching only 20 seconds of their ass-scripted video. Their stupid pranks did not deserve any more of my time to view their “show”.

      • That’s a pretty heavy-handed condemnation that you’re making of the entire crew, based on the 20 seconds you’ve seen of the one crew member who has no previous experience sailing/at sea.

    • Right? I didn’t know if they were using “chain” in the literal or nautical sense. I assumed they lost the chains from the bow to the bowsprit, which then holds the “chains” or cables up to the foremast. How did that get lost, again it’s not like it was effing 60 knots out there. Are the sails on this thing purely cosmetic?

      • Seeing pre-non crisis pic’s of the Liana’s Ransom shows they didn’t actually have bow chains on the bowsprit like they should have. One on each side trailing back to the hull and supporting it laterally. It was a ‘hollywood’ bowsprit. built by someone who saw a drawing of a pirate ship in a roadside clam stand in Kennebunkport. With a single chain below, and the forestay above. Literally the weakest link in the floating disaster.

  5. Also, we really need to start “thinking” about all this glorification of “Pirates.” I really love Johnny Depp but we need to remember that pirates were, and are, very bad people. And by bad, read murders, rapists, and general villains. Yet we continue to glorify them and hoist “jolly rogers” on our boats to show what???? How bad we are????

    • Completely agree about glorifying pirates. The other day I was watching “Bubble Guppies” (a children’s program) with my grandson and the whole point of the segment, it seems, was that to become a pirate was the epitome of achievement. Just made my skin crawl!

  6. I retired from the Coast Guard. Your Hurricane Island boats were a familiar sight to me. Your story is dead on but the author and editor should both be punched in the dick (or The Clam) area for….”Coastguardpersons”, an unwieldy, politically correct heap of decaying matter. Use Coast Guard personnel or ‘Coasties’!

  7. I retired from the Coast Guard. Your Hurricane Island boats were a familiar sight to me. Your story is dead on but the author and editor should both be punched in the dick (or The Clam) area for….”Coastguardpersons”, an unwieldy, politically correct heap of decaying matter. Use Coast Guard personnel or ‘Coasties’!

  8. The sailing rig on this boat was just for show and was never meant to be used; which is probably noted on it’s COI. It is a power boat with sticks and had no business being out of the harbor. As the captain of a 120 ft. 100-year-old schooner, a “real tall ship”, I can say that the industry is riddled with actors with little to no experience who can only handle routine in nothing but the best of conditions.

    • Actually the plan for the voyage was to motor for the first week to get out of the cold climate as quickly as possible, then sail for the rest of the journey. There was a headsail missing that had to be picked up along the way, and attempting to sail without it is probably the source of the media’s comments about “trying sail power” that have lead people to assume that the ship was “fake” or the crew incapable of sailing her.
      She’s a funny little ship, but not incapable of sailing.

  9. When the story first broke I could not understand why they couldn’t sail the thing. Go with the jib and a reefed main and you should be fine. Of course the crew has to be competent, which these clowns clearly were not, and the sails have to be real instead of (apparently) bed sheets. I hope the Coasties send them a large bill and it gets paid. I won’t hold my breath.

  10. Sadly I’m sensing that the cogs in some reality tv producer’s brain started twitching a bit when this hit the interwebs…

  11. I do know this ship, and while I wonder what that particular vessel was doing that far out in those conditions (she is more of a showboat than a hard sailer) you do have to consider that she is not your typical cruiser. You all sound like you are more familiar with sailing yachts than tall ships. Yes, she is classified as a class B tall ship, although she is no longer a member of Tall Ships America as of 2013 and is really not traditional at all – like I said, she’s a showboat. There are plenty of steel welded vessels out there, for one. Of course she has an undersized sail plan, as she motors or motorsails most of the time. Most larger vessels do not carry storm anchors, as they are not so effective on vessels with a greater tonnage. Who uses chain for cable? Almost every tall ship I know – it’s called a bobstay chain. I believe their shrouds are wire rope, not chain, and on any vessel with raked masts the head rig is extremely important, as it provides most of the forward support for the masts, so losing the bowsprit made her much more vulnerable to dismasting. Not having been present, I don’t know how any of you could know if there was or was not a serious attempt to set sail, and I certainly have no idea what the aesthetic appeal has to do with anything. As for abandoning ship at the last minute before it sinks, that is pure Hollywood grandstanding. No sailor wants to give up their home and livelihood lightly, but when the danger of remaining on board becomes too great, it is a poor captain indeed who would rather risk the safety of his crew to spare himself a little ’embarrassment’. And let us not forget the many, many incidents every year where, through inexperience, lack of preparation, or sheer stupidity, small boat operators endanger themselves and others and require the Coast Guard to put themselves at risk to rescue them, with far less publicity or recognition. All of that being said, a vessel which cannot easily handle 30 kt winds and 10 ft seas really ought not to be over fifty miles offshore in the first place, and I could wish to see the crew take the seriousness of the incident more to heart. The comment of “since the Coast Guard was there, we had to put on our survival suits” is puzzling, since it is explicitly taught in Coast Guard approved survival courses that you NEVER don a flotation device belowdecks. In any case, congratulations and grateful thanks to the Coast Guard men and women for braving the risk and bringing everyone home safely.

  12. Kristi Kalajian

    You too are officially deemed “crusty old person” by our 15 y/o arbiter Jim Dowd! And I said the exact same thing about the cap. Above all, compassion. Cheers. Kristi & Pete

  13. I had the same unthinkable thought…

  14. GDT reporting, “Member of rescued ‘pirate’ crew considers book on ordeal”, with the help of a $6000 GoFundMe campaign. Sheesh.

  15. These guys are silly buggers to the max.

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