Huntsville sailors survive deadly regatta

Huntsville sailors survive deadly regatta

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Two Huntsville men have returned to the Tennessee Valley after a sailing race in Mobile turned deadly.

It happened Saturday when a severe storm created 73 mile per hour wind gusts and 15-foot waves.

More than 100 sailboats and 200 people were out in the water during that time for the 57th annual Dauphin Island Regatta.

MORE: Citizen walks three hours searching for missing boaters

"The forecast was for a chance of thunderstorms," navigator Chris Torgerson said. "And there was nothing on the radar when we left the dock in the morning to cause you to think otherwise."

But all that changed in an instant.

"It was hairy; I've been sailing off and on for 50 years, but never anything, never has anything hit so hard, so fast," Torgerson said.

Despite the storm, the crew remained calm.

"I didn't like the strong wind, but I knew we were under control, we didn't lose anything at any time," Captain Gordon Trowbridge said.

The navigator and the skipper both agree that's why they made it back to the dock in one piece - and even had a little fun along the way.

"I was on a boat with good sailors who knew what to do, and to be honest with you, I kinda enjoyed it. People say were you afraid. I don't think any of us were ever afraid, and we never had a cause to be afraid because of who we were with and the boat we were on," Torgerson said.

Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved.