UMD's Vessel Has Weathered Similar 'Perfect Storm'
Posted at: 10/29/2012 12:00 AM
| Updated at: 11/20/2012 4:22 PM
By: Dayna Landgrebe
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Duluth is finding a nautical connection to the event with one of its own well-known vessels.
UMD's research vessel, the Blue Heron, has weathered a storm similar to post-tropical Sandy back in 1991. It's that same storm that caused that landmark blizzard in the Northland.
The Blue Heron was purchased by the university's Long Lakes Observatory from Portland, Maine in 1997.
But Tom Johnson, professor of geological at UMD, said the Blue Heron had been fishing the waters in the Gulf of Maine during that fateful perfect storm in 1991, just barely making it back to shore before the storm him.
Johnson said the Blue Heron is identical to the one used in the Hollywood film, "The Perfect Storm."
"The Blue Heron is very similar, about the same length, the same style ship that was featured in the story, "The Perfect Storm",' Johnson said. That storm, much like Sandy, was created by the confluence of three weather systems.
Meanwhile, the skipper of the sailboat that rode out that storm 21 years ago said if he had loved ones in the path of Sandy he'd tell them to get out.
On Saturday, Skipper Ray Leonard said folks should leave while they can do so calmly. People who've read the 1997 best-seller "The Perfect Storm" or watched the George Clooney movie know Leonard's story.
In October 1991, he and two crew members were caught off the coast of Massachusetts in that violent weather system.
They were plucked from the Atlantic by a Coast Guard helicopter. Their 32-foot sailboat later washed ashore intact.
(Copyright 2012 WDIO-TV, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)