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Missing Naperville boater found safe
By Elisabeth Mistretta | Daily Herald Staff

Richard McClow


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Published: 2/15/2010 12:45 PM | Updated: 2/15/2010 6:58 PM

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A shipwrecked Naperville man was discovered by a fisherman Monday several days after he went missing while sailing from Fort Pierce, Fla., to the Bahamas, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

Richard McClow, 79, was in need of food and water but otherwise appeared unharmed, authorities said.

He was reported missing at 1:46 p.m. Sunday, the Coast Guard said, after failing to arrive in Marsh Harbour. He had been scheduled to make port Friday evening after a roughly 350-mile trip.

McClow's son, David, said his dad was picked up by a fisherman on Great Sale Cay, which Coast Guard officials described as a sparsely inhabited island with few resources.

David McClow said his father made a tactical error, went the wrong direction and ran aground on the remote island. The waves flipped the boat and destroyed it on the rocks and his cell phone was ruined in the water. He was stranded for several days until he was able to attract the attention of a fisherman.

"I am feeling very, very relieved," David McClow said Monday evening. "He sounded a little dehydrated, but otherwise in good spirits."

Coast Guard officials said McClow and the fisherman were en route Monday to Freeport, Bahamas. McClow and his son spoke only briefly on the fisherman's phone, and David McClow said he will learn Tuesday when his father will return home.

McClow is a longtime boater and avid swimmer, said Sue Welker, head coach of the Naperville Waves swim team. He joined the Naperville Waves about four years ago, after moving from Evanston following a divorce, Welker said. While living on the North Shore, he swam with an Evanston-based swim club.

The coach said she has not heard from McClow in several weeks and has a book about sailing waiting on her desk that a teammate left for him.

Members of five Coast Guard crews had been searching for the missing man.