Rogue Wave: A Grand Banks survival story

On Sept. 6, 1980, Capt. Skip Gallimore and the crew of the 84-foot Lady Alice were returning home to New Jersey from the Grand Banks with holds full of swordfish in a storm blowing 140. As they came across the Flemish Cap, Gallimore at the wheel, a rogue wave towered over the boat.

“I was just jogging along fine, and all of a sudden, I saw a wall in front of me,” says Gallimore. “And that wall collapsed on me and actually sunk my boat.” Gallimore and his crew found themselves completely submerged.

“Got hit by that storm trying to come home, and it wiped out the boat and wiped out Buddy [Setzer],” says Mate Mike Carney.

When the vessel resurfaced, the wheelhouse was gone, Arlington “Buddy” Setzer III had a broken back, and Gallimore was seriously injured.

“I cut all the bunks up and made windows out of the plywood,” Gallimore says. “I used light sticks for running lights, and away we came home. The only thing I had was a fathometer.”

That was just the beginning of their quest to travel 1,000 miles home.

Filmmaker David Kaltenbach captured the retelling of this story in a short he calls “Sea Stories: Rogue Wave.”

David Kaltenbach is an independent producer and filmmaker who strives to bring the seafood industry to the forefront through professional video production. You can reach him at

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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