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man had to say good bye to his sailboat

'Libelle' ran aground off the coast of Colombia .

After 19 years of living and travelling the world on the sailboat he built with his own hands, Frank Schliewinsky has had to say goodbye.

Schliewinsky, who is originally from Dorchester, Ont., had been sailing with his girlfriend up the coast of Colombia en route to Panama.

The weather turned ugly near Cartagena.

​"We were headed for a sheltered bay, and about ten minutes before we got to the entrance of the bay, a large, rogue wave hit us and something broke in the steering, so we lost steering," said Schliewinsky from Mexico, where the couple has been recovering from the ordeal.

 

'Libelle'

 

By the time Schliewinsky was able to put on the emergency tiller, the waves pushed the boat closer to the beach and they hit the bottom.

"And the grounding was so hard that the keel punched a hole through the hull and we started to take on water and that was basically the beginning of the end. The boat filled up with water and we lost her."

The couple quickly grabbed their passports, a computer and some clothes before jumping on a dingy to get to shore.

Frank Schliewinsky launched the steel 13-and-a-half meter boat in 1986 after spending two years building it himself. He spent has the last 19 years living on the boat and travelling the world.

 

Frank Schliewinsky

 

"I had taken a shop class in high school and had built a nice shelf which sort of gave me the basics of joinery, so I had lots of confidence," Schliewinsky joked.

Schliewinsky said the boat is a write-off and is likely still on the beach in Colombia. He and his partner plan to fly to Toronto on March 23.

"I'm sleeping a little better now. After the first week, I had a hard time falling asleep just going over what happened and what could I have done. I'm going to miss it."

"It sailed well and basically I took care of it, and it took care of me."

Schliewinsky said his first order of business after returning to Canada will be to buy some winter clothes. Then he hopes to spend some time at his mother's place in Dorchester.

He said he hasn't decided yet if he'll ever return to the sea.

 

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CBC News

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