The memory of Claudene Christian took a seat at the proceding almost as real as any of the participants.
Several questions focused on the energetic deckhand who had virtually no experience aboard a tall ship, let alone riding out hurricanes. When Cleveland helped her move toward the back of the ship, shortly before it went horizontal, he "told her to stay low. I told her to go aft and to grab the next person I would hand her to."
She never made it home.
During a brief recess, Christian's parents paused at a window near the hearing room in this shipyard town, their arms around each other, looking across the Elizabeth River flowing toward the sea.