Sailor dubbed 'Captain Calamity' finally sells yacht after ninth rescue in seven months

Steve Shapiro and his crew mate Bob Weise were described as 'a catastrophe waiting to happen'

Alexandra Sims
Friday 15 April 2016 15:53
Steve Shapiro (R) and his crew mate Bob Weise (L)
Steve Shapiro (R) and his crew mate Bob Weise (L)

A sailor dubbed “Captain Calamity” after having to be rescued by coast guards nine times in seven months, has sold his ill-fated yacht.

Steve Shapiro and his crew mate Bob Weise, both aged 71, set sail from Scandinavia in a 40ft yacht named Nora in July, with plans to cruise across the Atlantic to their native US.

The expedition, however, became repeatedly beset by problems as the duo tried to navigate down the west coast to England.

Described as “a catastrophe waiting to happen” by veteran sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, the pair were initially rescued by Norwegian and Danish services, once when Nora's propeller shaft was damaged and a second time when the battery failed.

They were rescued twice in Scotland after running aground and having further propeller problems. The pair also ran aground in Northern Ireland and again in the Republic of Ireland leading to further rescue efforts.

Two more rescues were made in Cornwall following a mechanical problem and when one of the men got into difficulty rowing to the yacht.

The 40ft yacht named Nora after being set alight near Hayle Harbour, Cornwall

The ninth call out came when the boat tipped over near Hayle Harbour, Cornwall, causing a fire on board.

Following the incident, Mr Weise, a former army helicopter pilot, abandoned the Atlantic mission.

Appearing to have followed Mr Weise’s lead, Mr Shapiro, a screenwriter from California, recently sold Nora to new owners through Wooden Ships, an international yacht brokers based in Dartmouth, The Times reports.

Wooden Ships confirmed to the Independent the yacht had been sold, but gave no further details about the sale.

The yacht is understood to be moored at Hayle Harbour where the final catastrophe in the ship’s chaotic journey took place.

Speaking to The Times on Thursday, Peter Haddock, Hayle’s harbour master believed the sale was due to a “combination of being short of funds, the dream just coming to an end and listening to local advice.”

Wooden Ships have not disclosed how much the boat sold for, but Mr Haddock believes it went for “around the £20,000 mark”. He added it could be worth ”£40,000 to £50,000” in mint condition.

The sale, however, may be part of a bigger scheme for Mr Shapiro. In February he told reporters he may sell Nora and upgrade to a larger vessel. He previously told the BBC: “She is indestructible and seaworthy, but she is a little cramped”.

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