Family safe after sailboat wrecks in rough seas


NAPLES, Fla. – A family headed back to shore near Doctors Pass Christmas Eve was stranded for a short time, after strong winds pushed their sailboat into the rocks.

Dana Castro said he was out with his wife and three other family members sailing Wednesday when the crash happened. Castro said they were headed back to shore, when Naples police approached them on a boat offering to tow them in because of the conditions. Before police could help, the wind pushed Castro’s 22-foot sailboat into the rocks, on the other side of US 41 from Golden Gate Parkway.

“I thought the boat was going to be totaled because it was fully on the breakwater rocks,” he said. “Obviously today would have been better not to have gone, but there are many sailors who do go out in those kind of breezes.”

Castro said he’s been sailing for 45 years and is used to the 18 mile per hour winds that were blowing Wednesday, but he was in a bad spot at the wrong time. Just moments before the crash, his wife Paige said the sailboat had tipped sideways because of the wind.

“The boat rounded-up and we went on our side, and my sister fell in the water,” she said. “I went into survival mode basically.”

Beth Gualtieri was headed out with her husband Vinnie to fish when they spotted the shipwreck and stopped to check on the family. Video taken from Gualtieri showed police trying to help the sailboat as it crashed against the rocks.

“It’s choppy…it’s like a washing machine in there for the first couple hundred yards in the pass,” Vinne Gualtieri said.
Fortunately, no one was injured. Castro said they are waiting on the insurance company to determine how much damage was done to the sailboat, but he does not think it was totaled.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.