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Hi. I am the realtor representing the Patterson's property, and feel the Marco Eagle has unfairly jumped to conclusions about this vessel.
What appears to have happened, is that there was an unusually low-tide around midnight on the Monday after Easter, as corroborated by Officer Hood, and the sailboat leaned a bit in the mud, and the piling on the dock totally snapped away from the dock, pushing the boat into the canal. I have pictures that "tell the story" of this unfortunate situation. I also have pictures that show the conclusion of this story, which the paper has not addressed, and that is that with the fast communication from Officer Hood who called me to alert me to this situation, that I went above and beyond my duties as a licensed realtor, to ensure that this situation was quickly handled, as the Pattersons were out of town visiting family for Easter.
The conclusion of the story is that I was able to salvage this boat on my own with the assistance of a couple of good friends. We worked long hours. After all the water was bailed out of the boat, the boat was again afloat in the canal around 10:00PM the same day!
I personally made sure that I checked on the boat all night long, staying awake, checking again around midnight, again at 1:30AM,again in the wee hours of the morning, using my cell phone for illumination to the seawall, as we were to expect an unusually low-tide again. All was well, we experienced the same low-tide as the previous night, the boat leaned a little bit, but did NOT lean into the canal, because it was no longer tied to a faulty piling which caused it to sink in the first place.
The Pattersons have asked me to contact the newspaper, and request a retraction of the original article that has misinformation, and left out the conclusion.
The newspaper has the obligation to go back out to the property, and take another picture of the boat standing upright and floating in the water today. This was not negligence, just an unusually low-tide on an early spring morning, where the piling snapped off of a dock, and the boat didn't have a chance to spring back up on its own as a result. The Pattersons were visiting their family during Easter week, and are still away. If anyone needs to contact them, they can call me directly at 239-404-3911 and we can speak to them at any time. I was on the phone with them constantly that day.
I don't know if a contractor would have opted to save the boat, or if they would have opted to use a crane, lift it into the yard, and chop it up into pieces and dispose of it. Obviously, one method makes more money than the other. I made the choice that day to save the boat. I live across a marina on Isles of Capri and saw the heartbreak of boat owners after Hurricane Wilma, when their boats were chopped up into pieces. I just didn't have the heart to put Victory "down" that day. My hat's off to my good friend and Good Samaritan who helped me that day.
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