Nothing is plain sailing for Cabin Fever show

ON day one, a dead body floated past the original Cabin Fever ship. Then the ship sank. Yesterday, the replacement vessel was forced to return to shore — and a crew member ran away.

Conspiracy theorists would say the ship is doomed, but for producers desperate for audience figures to float the show, it all makes for good TV ratings.

Three weeks after the original boat sank, the second Cabin Fever ship hit rocky waters again yesterday when it was shore-bound with gear box problems.

The Johanna Lucretia was 50 miles from Killybegs when the crew noticed something amiss and made the decision to head for port in the early hours of yesterday morning. This came only two days after the show was re-launched following the sinking of the original Cabin Fever boat near Tory Island on June 13.

But while the crew were coming to terms with the latest upset to rock their boat, they suddenly dwindled in numbers when new arrival Noel Hogan, who joined the ship at the re-launch to replace one of the three original members who dropped out after the June 13 sinking, decided to jump ship.

Noel, who suffered two days of relentless seasickness, saw his chance when the camera crew recording the voyage stepped ashore for the night and, despite pleas from his shipmates to reconsider, he could not be coaxed back on board.

Show producer Stuart Switzer was remaining buoyant despite the latest incidents.

"We got into port knowing it would be one of four problems three easy and one hard and of course it was the hard one," he said of the worn-out forward cog found to be causing the difficulty.

A replacement part is due for delivery by noon today. " We expect to be underway again by 4pm," said Switzer.

The crew are under pressure to make their next port of call, Galway, by Monday when they are scheduled to make a live television appearance on RTÉ, and to lose another shipmate when viewers vote off the least popular crew member, forcing him or her to walk the plank.

Hogan will not be replaced but Switzer said his disappearance would not upset the format of the show and he was confident of making Galway in time.

"It's a 34-hour trip and we'll have 40 hours. The biggest problem is trying to stop the hundreds of local people in Killybegs who have come to see us, from throwing sweets and other contraband to the crew."

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