By Andrea Holbrook
---- — Editor's note: on Wednesday evening, the Coast Guard said the equipment found in Hull could not be definitively tied to the Foxy Lady II.
A rescue pod, marked Foxy Lady II on the side, was discovered in a Saugus marsh Tuesday evening shortly before 5, around the same time the U.S. Coast Guard was calling off the night’s search for the missing Gloucester-based scalloper and its crew of two.
Emergency responders recovered the hard-shelled lifeboat, which Saugus police believe may be tied to the Foxy Lady II, after receiving a call from a resident about a vessel in a waterway of the Saugus River, according to Saugus Lt. Ronald Giorgetti.
The Foxy Lady II, manned by Capt. Wally “Chubby” Gray Jr., 26, and Wayne Young, 50, both of Deer Isle, Maine, had set out for a day trip of fishing on Stellwagen Bank early Saturday morning and was to return Saturday evening. The captain’s girlfriend reported the vessel overdue to the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday morning.
Giorgetti said Saugus emergency responders found nothing else that might be related to the Foxy Lady II, but that the U.S. Coast Guard was following up Tuesday night. The U.S. Coast Guard had suspended the third day of searching Massachusetts Bay for the 45-foot scalloper around the same time, but renewed the search after the pod’s discovery. Giorgetti referred all further questions to the Coast Guard.
Reports said fishing equipment belonging to the Foxy Lady II was found on the South Shore, on Nantasket Beach in Hull.
The Coast Guard said the search will continue this morning. Three U.S. Coast Guard cutters from Boston were engaged in the search Tuesday. The search efforts have covered more than 750 square miles; the Coast Guard said today’s search will concentrate on areas closer to the coastline.
Coast Guard Sector Boston Search and Rescue officer Robert Scott had said the an air search was to begin as soon as the weather allows; weather conditions on scene Tuesday, however, included 8- to 10-foot seas, 15- to 20-knot winds and less than one mile visibility.
A gale warning is also in effect for today through this evening. Winds at sea are expected to be from the northwest 15 to 20 knots increasing to 20 to 25 knots in the afternoon, with gusts up to 30 knots. Seas are expected to be at 6 to 9 feet.
Searching today are the crews of the Coast Guard cutters Spencer, Sanibel and Bainbridge Island.
The Foxy Lady II’s EPIRB — or emergency position-indicating radio beacon, which is designed to begin transmitting when it hits the water — has not been transmitting, Scott said Tuesday. The VMS — or vessel monitoring system — which periodically emits radio signals to the Coast Guard for search and rescue and regulatory oversight was last positioned 15 miles north of Provincetown on Saturday night.
Gray was text messaging his girlfriend through noon Saturday, according to the Coast Guard. The weather was clear and windy around Cape Cod on Saturday, but deteriorated into rain on Sunday and rain with heavy showers spreading across the region since then.
The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wive Association has started a fund for the families of the fishermen. Donations may be sent to Fishing Fund Foxy Lady II, care of BankGloucester, 160 Main St., Gloucester, MA 01930.
Andrea Holbrook can be reached at 978-283-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.