Fourteen months after Rainmaker, a 55-foot Gunboat, was abandoned in the Atlantic Ocean, members of Oracle Team USA spotted the fully intact hull at sea.
They saw the boat while they were on a fishing trip off Bermuda, and a 40-foot Luhrs charter fishing boat called Tenacious hauled it in, according to Gunboat founder Peter Johnstone.
FormerOracle Team USA member Shannon Falcone sent Johnstone the first picture of the hull, and then someone in Bermuda began tagging him in others on Facebook, Johnstone said. (Falcone now is part of Italy's Luna Rossa team.)
“The Gunboat 55 Rainmaker is still in one piece and floating,” Johnstone said on his Facebook page. “Found and apparently under tow [after] 14 months in the North Atlantic. Two winters of gales. That is a will to live on.”
The boat won Cruising World's Domestic Boat of the Year at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Md., and later earned Sail magazine’s Best Boats Award.
Johnstone told Trade Only in December that the boat had been spotted by several people floating around.
“The boat’s tending to itself, even though the crew jumped off, through one of the worst winters on record in the North Atlantic,” he said.
One composites expert said he couldn’t think of any other structure that would have survived intact and afloat for 10 months.
The boat made news when the Coast Guard rescued millionaire Pinterest investor Brian Cohen, his son and three crewmembers from the $2.5 million boat when its mast broke in heavy winds and high seas about 400 miles off the coast of North Carolina.
The boat’s high-profile demasting was listed as one of the reasons the company ran into financial trouble in 2015, leading to its bankruptcy filing and pending sale at auction.
Johnstone stepped down as president as the company prepares to be sold after entering Chapter 11 restructuring, and is serving as a brokerage agent for the brand. The company was seeking a stalking horse bidder — a viable bidder designated to deter absurdly low offers. All bid packages need to be received by the company and the court by March 29.
The story has been updated to reflect that that Rainmaker won Cruising World's Boat of the Year Award at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Md., not in Miami as previously reported.