Missing Cumming boater turns up in Bahamas

When Charles Collins left Puerto Rico for Florida on Oct. 15, he told his daughter he'd call within two weeks.

Collins, reported missing on Halloween, turned up in Nassau over the weekend, unscathed and unaware that the U.S. Coast Guard had been searching for him. According to his son-in-law, Walter Brown, Collins stopped in the Bahamas to repair the rudder of his 33-foot sailboat, a problem that's plagued him before.

A broken rudder in June left the part-time Cumming resident briefly stranded north of San Juan, until a Coast Guard rescue.

Collins, 67, didn't require help this time. He blamed his delay on still waters, Brown said, and was apparently out of radio range.

"He said the winds were non-existent," Brown told the AJC. "It just took him a lot longer than expected."

Collins was well east of Hurricane Ida, which killed 124 people in El Salvador over the weekend. It's since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

The Coast Guard had been searching for Collins at ports in Puerto Rico and Florida. The agency had advised boaters to be on the lookout for his white sailboat with a green stripe on its hull.

Collins has lived on the vessel for three years, Brown said. "He basically sold everything off to cruise the Caribbean," he said.

Collins has since resumed his journey to Florida, with a final destination of Titusville near Cape Canaveral.

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