'Captain Calamity' Steve Shapiro, who was rescued nine times in seven months, has now sold his yacht.

Update – 15 April

Shapiro, who was dubbed ‘Captain Calamity’ by the media because he had been rescued so many times, has now sold his yacht, Nora.

Shapiro and his crew mate Bob Weise, both aged 71, set sail from Scandinavia in the 40ft yacht in July. They planned to cruise across the Atlantic to America, but faced a series of mishaps along the way.

Initially they were rescued by the emergency services in Norway and Denmark, the first time because of damage to the Nora’s propeller shaft.

Further propeller problems resulted in the pair being rescued twice in Scotland, before they ran aground in Northern Ireland and again in the Republic of Ireland. Both incidents required further rescue efforts.

Shapiro and Weise had to be rescued three times in Cornwall – twice by the St Ives RNLI.

In the final incident, the pair’s boat tipped over in Hayle Harbour and caught fire due to a candle not having been blown out properly.

Dartmouth-based yacht brokers, Wooden Ships confirmed to YBW.com that the Nora has been bought and the new owners will be refurbishing the vessel. Currently, the Nora remains in Hayle. 


Update – 26 February 2016

An American sailor who has required rescue nine times in seven months — three times in Cornwall alone — may be throwing in the towel.

Steve Shapiro, 71, set off from Norway in July with sailing partner Bob Weise, also 71, for the US. They only made it as far as Cornwall, where, after rescues in Norway, Denmark and Ireland, they were assisted by the RNLI three times in a series of mishaps and have been stranded in Hayle since January.

The incidents the pair endured — including their yacht, Nora, tipping over and catching fire whilst moored — have racked up a $14,000 repair bill.

Weise has already chosen to abandon the journey and Shapiro may soon follow suit.

Shapiro told NBC News: “A lot of things need fixing and I’m not sure if I’m willing to put in the costs to solve it.

“I wanted a playboy boat that I could invite people out in and have a good time. This boat is more of a workman’s vessel, a serious explorer’s boat — and I’m not a serious explorer, I’m more of a playboy.”

Shapiro found the 18-ton Nora for sale on the Internet and said the sailboat was built in 1979. He said the boat seemed seaworthy when he made inspections before purchasing, but the pair ran into trouble just a day after setting off on their voyage when they sailed over a fishing line in the North Sea and lost all power.

Shapiro called the trip a “small disaster” and said Weise had returned home after his family expressed concern for his safety following negative press coverage.


Update – 28 January 2016

It’s not been the easiest of expeditions for yachtsmen Bob Weise and Steve Shapiro, both 71. After a series of mishaps that saw them calling lifeboat crews seven times, the Americans have asked for help again after their craft, Nora, tipped over in Hayle Harbour in Cornwall.

And that’s not all. Fire crews had to be called to put out a small fire, caused, according to Mr Shapiro, by a candle which the pair had not extinguished properly before they went ashore to buy some groceries.

“We are both fine. The boat was supposed to be tied in by a mast tie but it did not get set so the boat fell over at low tide as it is a dry harbour,” the Telegraph reports Mr Shapiro saying.

“Obviously we were not happy. It appears that a candle had not been blown out properly and a little spark relit itself.

“We are not going to leave until this is fixed and we get the right wind, which looks like it will be next week.

“Our plan is to leave on the Friday but the boat has taken on a lot of water.”

Nora boat fire Cornwall twitter


21 January 2016

Two septuagenarian yachtsmen have required the assistance of lifeboat crews seven times since July on their trip from Scandinavia to North America.

The pair — both from North America — have called rescue teams in Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland and twice now in Cornwall. On Tuesday 19 January, the Falmouth Coastguard sent the St Ives Lifeboat team out to tow their sailboat, Nora, back to harbour.
Bob Weise and Steve Shapiro, both 71, told the BBC the rescues have had nothing to do with their seamanship abilities, saying they have just had bad luck.


According to a statement from the St Ives Lifeboat team, Weise and Shapiro called for help when their sailboat lost propulsion and was drifting 1.5 miles north of St Ives Head off Corwall’s southwestern tip.

Nora has a broken propeller shaft and a faulty battery, and was moored in a safe spot outside the harbour for repairs.

A spokeswoman from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed they had responded on two occasions over three days to assist the crew of the Nora.

Shapiro, a screenwriter, and Weise and ex-US Army helicopter pilot have said they plan to continue their transatlantic journey once repairs to the boat have been finished.

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