10 Facts You Didn't Know about the Andrea Gail (2023)


10 Facts You Didn’t Know about the Andrea Gail

Aiden Mason 5 years ago

10 Facts You Didn't Know about the Andrea Gail (1)

Sebastian Junger was 29 years old and climbed trees working as part of landscaping crews. He was freelancing as a writer and living in Gloucester when the Halloween Nor’easter- the no name storm- was boiling along the coast. When it hit Gloucester, the town learned of the dramatic tragedy that befell the Andrea Gail. He decided to write a chapter for a proposed book about it, and he sent it to his literary agent. He received $35,000 as an advance to writer the entire book. Two years later, his book was finished, and it ended up on the New York Times best-seller lists. The Perfect Storm became a Hollywood success and Junger went on to become a war correspondent. He’s also known for his documentary film Restrepo which was nominated for an Oscar. But it is Junger’s story about the Andrea Gail which propelled him- and Gloucester- into national memory. Twenty-seven years later, it still reaches deep.

1. The Andrea Gail was a 72-foot fishing trawler; just 12 years old when the ship and its crew were lost at sea.

The ship was owned by Brown Robert of Marblehead, which was the Andrea Gail’s home port. It was built in 1978 and was powered by a diesel motor. It left Gloucester on September 20th, 1991 and was headed for fishing on the Grand Banks. The international fishing ground is located southeast of Newfoundland Island, Canada. The fishing was poor, so Captain Billy Tyne left Grand Banks bound for Flemish Cap looking for better fishing. The Flemish Cap is about 350 miles east of Newfoundland. Experienced fishermen described the Flemish Cap as thick with fish every day. Apparently, it has been alive with fish and a prime fishing area for more than 500 years. It’s the experienced answer for why the Andrea Gail left the Grand Banks and headed to Flemish Cap at all.

2. The last communication from the Andrea Gail took place with the fishing vessel Hannah Boden.

When Captain Tyne sent his radio message to Linda Greenlaw, Captain of the Hannah Boden, he said his coordinates were 44°00?N 56°40?W, which placed the Andrea Gail about 162 miles east of Sable Island. Hannah Boden was the sistership to Andrea Grail. Greenlaw wrote a book about sword fishing on rough seas titled The Hungry Ocean and another about lobster fishing titled Lobster Chronicles. It was Greenlaw’s opinion that the storm formed over the Andrea Gail, leaving little warning of the strength it would soon have. Three weather systems colliding in the air over the North Atlantic at that time.

3. Captain Tyne recruited Sullivan for the Andrea Gail when a crewman dropped out of the lineup at the last minute.

Tyne lived on Gloucester Avenue and Sullivan lived around the corner. The two friends were close. The two families became closer after the tragedy. Both attended memorial tributes to the crew members and began conversations which have lasted to this day.

(Video) Bone-chilling Titanic Facts No One Knew

4. Every year, The Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial Service pays tribute to the crew of the Andrea Gail

Gloucester is the oldest seaport in the United States, and its citizens know the way of the sea well. It’s still a place where the fishermen go down to the sea daily, and sometimes forever. There have been 30 or more since the Andrea Gail tragedy.

5. Captain Richard Haworth speculated that recent modifications to the Andrea Gail contributed to her sinking.

Haworth had been the captain of the Andrea Gail for 8 years. He was the script consultant for The Perfect Storm. He said that his experience was that the ship tended to take on a lot of water when fully loaded with fish and fuel. His theory is that the storm hit when the ship was fully -loaded and the deck was already close to the water line. The port side had additional weather siding and Haworth believes that water became trapped on deck. As the rough waves grew, they rocked the boat and it heaved to one side and toppled over.

6. Fisherman jack Flaherty theorized that the Andrea Gail may have muddied fuel which caused engine failure.

Flaherty’s theory is that the fuel may have become contaminated with rust, algae, sediment, or air. Each of these things could contribute to a stalled or failed engine. He believes the extreme conditions fowled the fuel and left the Andrea Gail powerless against a wave and rolled over by it.

7. Captain Tyne’s final radioed words were “She’s comin’ on boys, and she’s comin’ on strong!”

The position of the Andrea Gail was 44°N 56,4°W. This is about 180 miles East of Sable Island. It was October 28th when the ship was returning home and the horrible storm hit. At about 6:00 p.m. Captain Tyne reported 30-foot-high waves and 80 knots wind gusts. After Captain Tyne spoke his last words to the Coast Guard, the ship’s radio went silent. There were no distress signals heard or seen.

8. “The Lady Grace a.k.a. Andrea Gail Children’s Educational Fund” brought in about $18,000

The Lady Grace is the fishing vessel which portrayed the Andrea Gail in The Perfect Storm. The Gloucester Fund administered the charitable cause and distributed the proceeds to the children.

9. Six crew members perished with the Andrea Gail.

Captain William Tyne Jr. was from Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was 37 years old. Robert Shatford was from Gloucester, too. He was 30 years old. Dale Murphy was from Bradenton Beach, Florida. He was 30 years old. David Sullivan’s family lived around the corner from the Tyne family. He was 29 years old, and the youngest of the crew. Michael Moran was from Bradenton Beach. He was 36 years old. Alfred Pierre was from New York City. He was 32 years old.

10. In 1991 several items from the Andrea Gail were found.

A 406Mhz EPIRB in the off position, a propane tank, fuel drums, an empty life raft, and some flotsam were found. The emergency position-indication radio beacon was positively identified as belonging to the Andrea Gail. The items were found on the Southwest corner of Sable Island in Nova Scotia. Fishermen note that the island is about 180 miles East Northeast of the Andrea Gail’s last known position. It was the position where the ship began to encounter the 50 to 80 knot winds and the 30-foot seas. It is also interesting that recent speculation is that the Andrea Gail went down in the general vicinity of the Titanic. The boat has never been found.

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About The Author

10 Facts You Didn't Know about the Andrea Gail (8)

Aiden Mason

More from this Author

Aiden's been an entertainment freelancer for over 10 years covering movies, television and the occasional comic or video game beat. If it's anything Shawshank Redemption, Seinfeld, or Kevin Bacon game related he's way more interested.


Why did the Andrea Gail sink? ›

Flaherty's theory is that the Andrea Gail may have been low on fuel or had its fuel "muddied" in the rough waters. According to Flaherty, violent movement of the boat can slosh up fuel — bringing up sediment, rust, or algae.

Who was the real crew of the Andrea Gail? ›

The boat was carrying six crew members: Captain Bill Tyne, 37, David Sullivan, 29, and Bob Shatford, 30, all of Gloucester, as well as Dale Murphy and Michael Moran, both of Bradenton Beach, Florida, and Alfred Pierre, of New York City.

How many lives were lost in The Perfect Storm? ›

The total without power was much less than for Hurricane Bob two months prior, and was fairly low due to little rainfall and the general lack of leaves on trees. Overall there were thirteen confirmed deaths, including six on board Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat.

Was the Andrea Gail crew ever found? ›

The vessel and its crew were never found. Onboard were Captain William Tyne, Robert Shatford, & David Sullivan, all of Gloucester; Dale Murphy & Michael Moran of Bradenton Beach, FL, Alfred Pierre from NYC. Battered by 30 to 60 foot waves (some reports even say 100ft), the ship was lost at sea.

How long was the Andrea Gail out at sea? ›

F/V Andrea Gail was a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands during the Perfect Storm of 1991.
Andrea Gail.
United States
In service1978
Out of serviceOctober 28, 1991
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Did the Coast Guard try to save the Andrea Gail? ›

The helicopter then goes looking for the Andrea Gail but runs out of fuel and has to ditch. In reality, Moore's Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod rescued the people from the sailboat, along with three crewmen from the Tamaroa, whose small inflatable craft was damaged in an attempt to get to the sailboat.

How many people were lost on the Andrea Gail? ›

Thirteen people died and 100 homes were destroyed as a result of the Perfect Storm, which caused $200 million in damages. Six of the storm's 13 victims were fishermen aboard the Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing vessel out of Gloucester that was lost at sea.

How long do sword boats go out for? ›

Sword boats are also called longliners because their mainline is up to forty miles long. It's baited at intervals and paid out and hauled back every day for ten or twenty days.

How big were the waves that sank the Andrea Gail? ›

“Wave heights with the 'perfect storm' reached as high as 100 feet with winds as high as 70 mph at the peak of the storm," Boston said. "Sandy's winds and waves were even higher." Some of the waves that capsized the Andrea Gail were 39 feet high.

Did any boats survive The Perfect Storm? ›

No one onboard survived to tell the story and the ship was never recovered. Author Sebastian Junger took on the task of reconstructing this fatal voyage in his 1997 best-seller The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea.

Was there ever a perfect storm? ›

On October 30, 1991, the so-called “perfect storm” hits the North Atlantic producing remarkably large waves along the New England and Canadian coasts. Over the next several days, the storm spread its fury over the ocean off the coast of Canada.

What storm causes the most deaths? ›

The 10 Deadliest Storms on Record
Storm RankYearReported Deaths
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Is The Flemish Cap Real? ›

The Flemish Cap is an area of shallow waters in the north Atlantic Ocean centered roughly at 47° north, 45° west or about 563 km (350 miles) east of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

What makes a perfect storm? ›

A perfect storm is an unusual combination of events or things that produce an unusually bad or powerful result. Investors are faced with the perfect storm of slowing economic growth, rising prices and an unstable housing market.

Was anyone rescued in The Perfect Storm? ›

After five hours in the water, four airmen were rescued by USCGC Tamaroa (WMEC-166), a 48-year-old former U.S. Navy fleet tug, operated by the Coast Guard since the end of World War II as a medium endurance cutter. The search for Rick Smith continued for a week. He was never found.

How many coast Guard men died in the Perfect Storm? ›

During the Perfect Storm of 1991, the US Coast Guard and National Guard mounted rescue missions for the ships that were out at sea. A New York Air National Guard HH-60 helicopter went down after running out of fuel, and one of the people on board died.

Has the Coast Guard ever lost a ship? ›

The Coast Guard-manned weather ship USS Muskeget disappeared without a trace while on patrol in the North Atlantic. Her entire crew of 120 men was lost. The Coast Guard learned after the war that she had been torpedoed and sunk by the U-755.

Can the Coast Guard fight? ›

As one of the country's six armed services, the U.S. Coast Guard has deployed to support and fight every major U.S. war since 1790, from the Quasi-War with France to the Global War on Terrorism. As of December 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard's authorized force strength is 44,500 active duty personnel and 7,000 reservists.

Is the Coast Guard real? ›

Yes! Even though the Coast Guard is not a part of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the Coast Guard is part of the United States Armed Forces (also known as the military). Technically, the Coast Guard is both a federal law enforcement agency and military branch within the Department of Homeland Security.

Who survives the Perfect Storm? ›

Only Bobby Shatford,manages to get out of the boat;however,he has no chance of surviving. He is last seen all alone among the waves. Back at shore a memorial ceremony is carried out while friends and family worry and wait for a ship that never comes home.

Why was it called the Perfect Storm? ›

The "perfect storm" was a nickname given to this storm by Bob Case, a retired NOAA meteorologist. The storm began as an extratropical low on October 28, 1991 and became famous as author Sebastian Junger profiled the sinking of the swordfishing boat the ​Andrea Gail in the novel The Perfect Storm.

How big was the Perfect Storm? ›

In the case of the Perfect Storm, rogue waves were reported to be as high as 80 to 90 feet, and seas in the North Atlantic were as high as 100 feet. And while the system was spinning off the coast, all the wind and wave energy was being sent right into the Massachusetts coastline.

Do swordfish fight hard? ›

Swordfish are vigorous, powerful fighters. Although no unprovoked attacks on humans have been reported, swordfish can be very dangerous when harpooned. They have run their swords through the planking of small boats when hurt.

How rare is it to catch a swordfish? ›

Back in 1913 William Boschen caught the first swordfish with a rod and reel off Catalina Island, California, and fewer than 1,500 have been taken in all the oceans in all the years since.

Is commercial fishing killing the ocean? ›

According to the IUCN, overfishing by the commercial fishing industry has led to the decline of species such as tuna in Caribbean waters and has killed many Caribbean coral reefs. If that is not enough, climate change and ocean warming further stress and destroy extensive coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean.

Has a giant wave ever hit a cruise ship? ›

29, an unusually massive wave hit the cruise ship Viking Polaris as it was sailing through the Drake Passage in Antarctica's Southern Ocean toward Ushuaia, a port in Argentina where many Antarctic cruises start and end, French news agency AFP (opens in new tab) reported.

Can The Perfect Storm happen again? ›

It can happen again

Some scientists said the formation of the storm, and its retrogression, made it a freak, a "hundred year storm." But meteorologists say a storm just as powerful can happen again. Another set of 100-foot waves has since been recorded, during a fast-moving 1993 storm in the North Atlantic.

Can a big wave sink a ship? ›

The significant wave height is the average of the highest one-third of waves that occur over a given period. Rogue waves can disable and sink even the largest ships and oil rigs.

What was the deadliest disaster at sea? ›

1. The Wilhelm Gustloff (1945): The deadliest shipwreck in history. On January 30, 1945, some 9,000 people perished aboard this German ocean liner after it was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine and sank in the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea.

Do they sink retired ships? ›

Today, ships (and other objects of similar size) are sometimes sunk to help form artificial reefs, as was done with the former USS Oriskany in 2006. It is also common for military organizations to use old ships as targets, in war games, or for various other experiments.

What was the sister ship to the Andrea Gail? ›

Although they left Gloucester at different times, the Andrea Gail was part of a "fleet" of about twenty-five swordfishing vessels. Her sister ship, the Hannah Boden, was a 100-foot long-liner skippered by Linda Greenlaw, the only woman captain in the fleet.

What was the worst hurricane ever? ›

More people were killed in this single storm than the total of those killed in at least the next two deadliest tropical cyclones that have struck the United States since. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

What is the biggest storm ever on Earth? ›

Typhoon Tip was the largest tropical cyclone on record, with a diameter of 1,380 mi (2,220 km)—almost double the previous record of 700 mi (1,130 km) in diameter set by Typhoon Marge in August 1951. At its largest, Tip was nearly half the size of the contiguous United States.

What is the most powerful storm on Earth? ›

The strongest tropical cyclone recorded worldwide, as measured by minimum central pressure, was Typhoon Tip, which reached a pressure of 870 hPa (25.69 inHg) on October 12, 1979.

What is the #1 weather related killer? ›

According to a 30 year average from NOAA, summer heat is the number 1 weather related killer in the U.S. This number is then followed by flooding deaths, tornadoes, lightning and last, winter storms. Average highs for Florence, SC in July are 91 and the average high for Myrtle Beach is 88.

What kills you in a hurricane? ›

Water is the No. 1 killer during a hurricane or tropical storm that strikes the U.S. – comprising nearly 90% of all tropical cyclone deaths – mostly by drowning in either storm surge, rainfall flooding or high surf, according to a 2014 study by Dr. Edward Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center.

Can there be a Cat 6 hurricane? ›

There is officially no such thing as a Category 6 hurricane. But the idea of revising or adding to the scale has been discussed by some climate scientists who believe the current categories may not be adequate for increasingly extreme storms in the future.

How deep is the water on the Grand Banks? ›

Most of the bank areas are found at depths up to 200 metres with the majority of area between 51 - 100 metres. The continental slope is quite steep along the southern and eastern portions of the banks and depths reach to beyond 1000 metres over a relatively short distance.

What does put the birds in the water mean? ›

My mind then involuntarily plumbed its depths and produced a scene in the movie The Perfect Storm where George Clooney's character, the Captain, orders the crew to “toss the birds.” The birds he's referring to are stabilizers designed to keep a boat from tipping over in rough seas.

When did The Perfect Storm happen? ›

Does storm have a weakness? ›

Storm has one weakness, which she her severe claustrophobia, which affects her to this day. When Storm is trapped she is unable to concentrate and her powers will sometimes fall out of control.

Why do storms feel so good? ›

"The brain naturally craves sensory input," says Kimberly Hershenson, a New York City-based therapist specializing in anxiety and depression. "Rain produces a sound akin to white noise. The brain gets a tonic signal from white noise that decreases this need for sensory input, thus calming us down.

Do storms get worse? ›

The ocean measurements suggest that tropical cyclones are likely intensifying at a rate of around 1.8 meters per second each decade.

How many ships sank in the Perfect Storm? ›

The storm destroyed three boats and damaged a lighthouse. High waves destroyed or swept away over 50,000 lobster traps, representing $2 million in losses (1991 USD). Damage was estimated at $5.6 million (1991 USD).

Is there a shark in the Perfect Storm? ›

And as if the storm itself was not enough of an obstacle, the filmmakers inserted virtually every mishap that could plague a long-liner into one trip. (The crew catches a shark, which takes a chunk out of a crew member's leg, another goes overboard after getting caught on a line.)

Can a Coast Guard cutter sink? ›

The 47-foot Motor Life Boat is a steadfast tool for search and rescue missions. The boats are virtually unsinkable and self-right themselves after capsizing. Aircraft are used by the Coast Guard to perform search and rescue, spot smugglers and illegal immigrants and transport people and supplies.

Why does the rescue helicopter crash into the water the Perfect Storm? ›

With just twenty minutes of fuel remaining, Jolly 110 would have to ditch in the middle of “The Perfect Storm.” Unable to refuel, Major Ruvola made the decision to ditch the helicopter into the sea while the engines were still running. At 9:30 p.m., the Sikorsky's number one engine flamed out from fuel starvation.

What is the true story behind the Perfect Storm? ›

The book is about the 1991 Perfect Storm that hit North America between October 28 and November 4, 1991, and features the crew of the fishing boat Andrea Gail, from Gloucester, Massachusetts, who were lost at sea during severe conditions while longline fishing for swordfish 575 miles (925 km) out.

Did any boats survive the Perfect Storm? ›

No one onboard survived to tell the story and the ship was never recovered. Author Sebastian Junger took on the task of reconstructing this fatal voyage in his 1997 best-seller The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea.

How accurate was the Perfect Storm movie? ›

28, 1991, while the powerful storm was still intensifying. Its last known reported position was about 180 miles northeast of Sable Island, and the ship's emergency beacon washed ashore on the island about a week later. "The depiction was fairly accurate," Dellicarpini said, referencing the movie The Perfect Storm.

What kind of fish were caught in the perfect storm? ›

Bobby Shatford was now crew on one of the best sword boats on the East Coast. They'd been at sea a month and taken fifteen tons of swordfish. Prices fluctuate so wildly, though, that a sword boat crew often has no idea how well they've done until after the fish have been sold.

Who survives in the perfect storm? ›

Captain Linda Greenlaw was on the Andrea Gail's sister ship Hannah Boden and survived the storm. Mark Wahlberg, left, and George Clooney are shown in a scene from, "The Perfect Storm."

How many Coast Guard died in the perfect storm? ›

During the Perfect Storm of 1991, the US Coast Guard and National Guard mounted rescue missions for the ships that were out at sea. A New York Air National Guard HH-60 helicopter went down after running out of fuel, and one of the people on board died.

Is there a shark in The Perfect Storm? ›

And as if the storm itself was not enough of an obstacle, the filmmakers inserted virtually every mishap that could plague a long-liner into one trip. (The crew catches a shark, which takes a chunk out of a crew member's leg, another goes overboard after getting caught on a line.)

Does The Perfect Storm exist? ›

It may be listed in the historical records as an unnamed hurricane, but the 1991 storm that sank a boat off the Eastern Seaboard is better known as the “perfect storm.” Six Gloucester, Massachusetts, fishermen died as a result of the Halloween storm sinking the Andrea Gail.

Did The Perfect Storm actually happen? ›

On October 30, 1991, the so-called “perfect storm” hits the North Atlantic producing remarkably large waves along the New England and Canadian coasts. Over the next several days, the storm spread its fury over the ocean off the coast of Canada.

How much damage did The Perfect Storm do? ›

Four members of its crew were rescued and one died. Two people died after their boat sank off Staten Island, NY. High waves swept one person to their death in Rhode Island. Overall, damage from the storm totaled over 200 million dollars and resulted in the deaths of 13 people.


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