Book - The Wheelsmen


Book - The Wheelsmen


Soft-cover Book

Exciting eyewitness accounts of the Great Lakes' most incredible shipwrecks!

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They were at the wheel when their ships went down, eyewitnesses to incredible tragedy, valor and human perseverance. The Wheelsmen took on two killer storms, a foggy collision, and a mysterious explosion that took over 100 lives. Author Ric Mixter offers this exclusive look at four of his most famous television interviews; men who survived shipwreck in the harshest conditions: 

The 1913 Storm. 

Ed Kanaby was 18 years old when he steered the H.B. Hawgood through the worst storm in Great Lakes history. The captain ordered him to keep the ship in deep water, but he disobeyed, pushing the giant freighter onto the beach. 12 other ships disappeared that weekend, with over 250 sailors lost to the gale. 

The 1940 Armistice Day Storm. 

Lloyd Belcher remembers when Lake Michigan’s winds kicked up and pushed the Novadoc onto the sandbars, just a few hundred yards from shore. Two of his crewmates would be washed overboard, but 17 lives would be spared thanks to a daring rescue by three local fishermen. 

The Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba. Helmsman Ray O’Malley was new to the ship, and barely had two minutes at the wheel when a mysterious explosion ripped the cutter in half. Was it a Nazi submarine? Only two men would survive the frigid North Atlantic to tell the story.  The heroic efforts of the Escanaba are showcased with Ric’s interview of a survivor rescued by the cutter during the sinking of the Dorchester.

The Cedarville Collision.

Len Gabrysiak’s sailing career came to a quick end when his Captain made a fatal error while navigating the Mackinac Straits in dense fog. Len recalls all the moments leading up to the disaster, as well as his icy plunge into the waters that claimed ten of his fellow crewmen. 

The Wheelsmen takes maritime history to a new level. Eyewitness accounts tell of each shipwreck, complete with life stories of the men who survived. Painstaking research packs the book with pictures and descriptions of the final voyages, and the author also shares his dive log notes as he visits the shipwrecks on the bottom of the Great Lakes.