BE GOOD TOO RETURNS: My Favorite Abandoned Catamaran Appears On a Beach in Scotland

Be Good beached

How the worm turns! I posted my account of how I and three others abandoned the Alpha 42 catamaran Be Good Too 300 miles off North Carolina exactly three years ago today. And now here I am come to report she has just washed up on a beach in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. I couldn’t believe it at first. A guy named Jef on the island of South Uist sent me the photo you see above just yesterday, plus a few others, and asserted he thought it must be Be Good Too. The only similarity I saw was in the reverse destroyer bows. Other than that it was impossible to say if it was the same boat or not.

We kept slinging e-mail back and forth and eventually he sent me this link here to a BBC TV news account (in Gaelic, if you can believe it) that leaves no doubt as to the boat’s identity. Here are some relevant screen shots:

Be Good bows

This was at low tide, as opposed to the high-tide shots I first received. The distinctive orange and grey hashmarks on the bow are a dead giveaway

Be Good transom

And of course, there’s no arguing with the name on the transom!

Be Good bottom

The full rear view. The keels are gone. Those bothersome rudders that gave us so much trouble are gone. One saildrive leg is gone. And it appears the cabinhouse (not to mention the rig) is gone too. It looks like she’s probably been upside down for a long time

To give you a frame of reference, here are a couple of shots of healthy Alpha 42s:

Alpha hull 2

This is hull number two, Lucy2, which I met in Bermuda later the same year. She is now for sale, in case you’re interested

Alpha hull 4

And this is hull number four out of the water, so you can see what the bottom is supposed to look like. I toured hull number three, Platypus, at Annapolis two years ago and was impressed by how much the build quality had improved compared to our boat, hull number one

Just for the record, I should report too that one of the owners of the boat, Gunther Rodatz, has passed away since we had our adventure together. I heard he and his wife Doris took the insurance money they got from the loss of Be Good Too, immediately bought another production cat, and at least got in one season together in the Caribbean before Gunther died.

I’ve reached out to Doris, but so far no luck.

And as long as we’re discussing abandoned catamarans, I must mention that Gunboat 55 hull number one Rainmaker–which was 1) abandoned off North Carolina just a year (in January even) after we abandoned Be Good Too; 2) recovered as a hulk just off Bermuda a little over a year later; and 3) recently sold at auction–has just been delivered to the UK, where she is undergoing a total refit.

Rainmaker hull

Rainmaker at the Multihull Centre in England, where she will be made as good as new

I only wish Be Good Too could be so lucky!

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10 Responses
  1. Coll Macdonald

    Last night I had a thoroughly interesting read on the history of the yacht “Be Good Too” after hearing about it from local fishermen in the harbour and seeing it on the news. Further to this I heard today that more parts of the boat had washed up on the shore in the last 24 hrs although I cannot confirm this. I am planning to have a look down at the wreck site tomorrow.
    For any keen sailors interested in visiting the area we would be delighted to welcome you in the sheltered Lochboisdale Harbour Marina where you can enjoy all our facilities a short distance from the beautiful long stretches of sand where the “Be Good Too” came ashore.
    More updates to come after my visit to the “Be Good Too” tommorrow.
    Coll Macdonald
    Harbour Master

  2. Jordan

    There’s a vessel that could tell some stories I bet!

    It is interesting to see what happens to a modern production catamaran that is left to its own devices for three years in the north Atlantic. Clearly she flipped a long time ago, and has been awash since then. I wonder if she was flipped, lost her keels and rig all in the same cataclysmic event or if there were a series of misfortunes.

  3. Jordan

    Also I wonder if it would be possible to work out her most probable drift path given we have a time and place she was abandoned and the time and place she washed ashore. That would be extremely interesting.

  4. Jordan

    Sorry, but I just had another thought. If a rough drift path could be established then I bet it would be possible to figure out when she flipped by looking at the amount of marine growth on her deck.

  5. Charlie

    @Jordan: Given how sinuous the Gulf Stream is I think it would be hard to work out an accurate drift path. I agree, however, that she must have flipped early on. The North Atlantic is heavily trafficked, and abandoned vessels are usually spotted and reported, in some cases on multiple occasions. BGT, as far as I know, was never spotted once, which was why I have always assumed she sank. Once she was swamped and upside down and covered with growth she would have been very hard to see.

  6. Coll Macdonald

    @Charlie: I went down to look at the site today and it was quite something, especially having some background on the history of the boat. She is bedded into the sand quite well now and a little weed gathering around the sides and over the belly. I can confirm that both sail drives are present but the port side hull sail drive is almost fully retracted. There are also signs of broken parts from the superstructure scattered around the beach to the north of the hull for a distance of around 200m from the hull itself. These parts would have most likely broken of when she passed over the rocky reef with the tide and landed on the sands east of the reef. The hull itself is in very good condition although the deck surfaces will have suffered damage on the way in over the reef.


  7. Shona MacDonald

    You might be interested in seeing the path taken by 2 bottles with messages and trackers dropped into the sea off Iceland. One almost came ashore in South Uist but then drifted south and east to land in Tiree. The other is currently still in the sea – but west of Uist at the moment. These went into the water January 2016.
    BBC Gaelic (again!) report on the bottle found on the Tiree shoreline (1 day before the Be Good Too came ashore in South Uist) .

  8. Charlie

    @Coll: Thanks so much for the update! I assume there are no signs of the rig. What do you suppose will happen to the wreck? Will it be removed?

    @Shona: Thanks much for the link. Those tracks are very interesting. Wouldn’t be surprised if BGT made a loop or two on her way over.

  9. Anonymous

    A note on your action from others how sail :

    “I am no judge, I was not aboard but the fact that the crew could not sail the boat to safety (as many others have done with damaged rudders), nor had the patience and/know how and tools to fix the issue is one thing – but not leaving a marking device on board to warn other sailors of a floating hazard is CRIMINAL and I wish that there would be regulations in place to prohibit this.

    Each year we sail 1000’s of miles, half of which are at night offshore. In the past we hit countless objects that have been lost overboard such as containers or sometimes even whales and we have been lucky to survive these collisions relatively unscathed. Having had the opportunity to mark BE GOOD TOO was consciously avoided by her skipper and crew.”

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