couple share 28-day story on a sailboat



FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla .– “Tears come to my eyes as I write this; it’s been such an ordeal,” Marty Widrick read aloud in a notebook. “Exhausting, sometimes even overcoming. Everything seems to be against us. How can so many things go wrong and continue? We’re about to have the backup of the exhausted saves.”

Words are only beginning to tell the whole story, an exciting journey to the Caribbean Sea for vacation.

Widrick and her boyfriend, Sven Karrlson, spent 28 days together on Karrlson’s sailboat. It was the trip of a lifetime – one destined to be a romantic outing on the high seas and one the couple will never forget.

By the time the couple returned to dry land, their journey seemed like a constant stream of trouble – a storm-battered boat – and a troubled trip from the pandemic.

Widrick and Karrlson opened up about their ordeal in an exclusive interview with Contact 5 investigator Michael Buczyner on their boat, now docked in Fort Lauderdale.

“I was very excited,” Widrick told WPTV. “So I was looking for a good trip to Saint-Bartès. “

Marty widrick

Mary Widrick and Sven Karrlson are all smiles when they go out to sea in December 2020.

This would be Widrick’s first sailing trip with Karrlson, a captain with a lifetime of experience behind the helm.

The two left Fort Lauderdale on December 2, 2020, heading to the Caribbean.

“We had checked that the winds were good because Sven didn’t want me to be in too high seas for our first outing,” said Widrick. “We were concerned that the winds were not enough.”

But just hours after leaving Fort Lauderdale, the weather changed.

“The seas were rising pretty fast and the wind turned more against us,” Karrlson recalls.

Michael Buczyner talks to Marty Widrick and Sven Karrlson on their sailboat docked in Fort Lauderdale

Kaan Pala / WPTV

Contact 5 investigator Michael Buczyner listens to Marty Widrick and Sven Karrlson tell their story of survival from the same sailboat where they spent 28 days stranded at sea.

Twenty-five-foot seas battered the 50-foot sailboat, damaging its sails as the couple traveled on the high seas.

“Very quickly the sail got stuck, destroyed and rolled up completely in the mast,” said Widrick.

Widrick said after the sail got stuck, “he overturned the boat”.

“It was scary,” Widrick told WPTV. “You know, for me, my first time, it was very scary.”

Sitting in 2,000 feet of water and unable to drop anchor, the couple started the engine and headed south to try and make repairs.

“We thought if we could go to Cuba we could drop anchor, find shallow water, just for a little while, long enough to unlock the sail,” Widrick explained, noting that Cuba was the place to be. closer for the sailboat to drop anchor.

The couple said they quickly realized they weren’t welcome off the Cuban coast.

“Two Cuban officers came in a boat and said, ‘You have to leave immediately,'” Widrick said.

Marty Widrick says he was greeted by Cuban officers

Kaan Pala / WPTV

“Two Cuban officers came in a boat and said, ‘You have to leave immediately,’” recalls Marty Widrick when she and Sven Karrlson arrived in Cuba.

Running out of fuel, Widrick said, they made it safely out of Cuban waters and into the northern Bahamas, where they hoped to finally make repairs.

But their bad luck continued.

“When we enter Matthew Town, we end up being greeted by immigration, customs,” Widrick told WPTV.

She said customs officials told them they did not have a COVID-19 test and visa.

“We were informed that we were there illegally and that we had to leave,” she said.

GALLERY: Couple spent 28 days stranded at sea

The couple therefore continued.

Widrick’s daughter made plans for them to sail to the Turks and Caicos Islands, where they would be welcome to stop and make repairs.

But they’ve never gone so far south.

The couple said bad weather hampered their trip and prevented them from reaching the Turks and Caicos Islands.

A broken VHF antenna made the couple’s bad luck worse, leaving them with no way to communicate.

On December 22, the US Coast Guard issued an alert indicating that the two men were missing.

The Coast Guard notice said the couple left Matthew Town on December 16.

Coastguard crews searched over 58,000 square miles of seas for the couple, an area about the size of Georgia.

“The ocean is huge and it’s so hard to know where people are,” Karrlson told WPTV.

Sven Karrlson says he and Marty Widrick

Kaan Pala / WPTV

Sven Karrlson says he and Marty Widrick “had a lot of bad luck, maybe”.

Widrick added that the couple “had no idea” the Coast Guard was looking for them.

“I’m grateful we didn’t need, you know, the rescue,” Widrick said, adding she was grateful to the Coast Guard.

WPTV spoke to Gayle Clark, a longtime friend of Karlsson’s, as the couple went missing at sea.


Coast Guard searches for missing boaters aboard Palm Beach-based sailboat near Bahamas

“The boat that disappears 100% like this is very unusual”, Clark told WPTV during the interview.

On Christmas Eve, the couple’s bad luck continued to worsen.

“We were only 50 miles from Fort Lauderdale. We ended up having a waterspout hitting the boat,” Widrick said. “We couldn’t sail. We couldn’t use the engine.”

Widick wrote about the ordeal in a letter to her daughter. She shared part of the letter with WPTV.

“My Mayday came out yesterday over and over again for hours,” Widrick wrote. “We were worried about what would happen in the Bahamas if we found ourselves ashore again without a visa.”

Twenty-eight days after the first departure, the couple landed again in Florida.

“It was almost like it was right out of a movie,” Widrick said.

Karrlson said they “had had a lot of, perhaps, bad luck.”

“You know how you sit down and watch the movies? And everything in the movie goes wrong, and you just sit there saying, ‘There’s no way that could happen in real life? Widrick recalls. “Well, we were living it.”

Marty Widrick compares being stranded at sea to watching incredible movie

Kaan Pala / WPTV

“You know how you sit down and watch the movies? And everything in the movie goes wrong, and you’re setting there saying, ‘There’s no way that could happen in real life? “” Marty Widrick told WPTV. “Well, we were living it.”

It was an exciting trip to the Caribbean, which the couple will remember for a constant stream of unfortunate events and challenges at every turn.

Widrick’s letter to her daughter sums up the final chapter of this unique journey.

“It’s amazing the bad luck we’ve had and encountered,” Widrick wrote. “I love you baby, mom.”



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