Part 18. Found Amid reports of calming seas, the salvage team set off on a hired boat. “The trip out proved the weather prediction to be wrong,” according to the subsequent report. “They had an 8-to-10-foot roll with a 2-3-foot chop on top, making the trip very uncomfortable.” At 3 p.m., just over 12 hours later, they found Restive about 127 miles south of Nantucket.
“The poor sea conditions on the outboard voyage were the same on-scene. This prevented a vessel-to-vessel transfer of the salvage team. Our crew had to don diving gear, jump overboard and make a swim for the boat. One crewmember was able to pull himself up over the side with a little adrenaline from the talk of sharks in the area by the boat crew. He would rig a ladder for the second crewmember. They found the vessel taking on water.”
They also found a severely damaged rudder “flopping violently back and forth, [which] would have resulted in massive flooding in the next 6-12 hours.” Night was falling by the time they had Restive rigged for towing. As they set off, it quickly became clear that the damage was far more extensive than they had thought.
“I've given this a lot of thought,” Rob, Sparky’s captain, later wrote George, “and am convinced that the only thing that kept Restive from sinking is the tremendous strength of her hull skin. Any lesser build would almost certainly have suffered hull failure at the lower bearing block. There are very, very few boats that would have survived.”