"Joe's comment was, 'Every man for himself,'" Sherman said.
With water rising inside, the boat's contents began floating away, but the two men grabbed the life-saving gear. Diesel fuel from the boat's ruptured tanks saturated the two men.
The storm's powerful waves continued to pummel the capsized boat.
"We're like lightning bugs in a coffee can. When those waves hit, we're just getting slammed around like crazy," Sherman said.
They each found wetsuits to dive from the main salon to Cultra's sleeping berth in one hull to find survival gear, but couldn't locate any.
So they planned a dive to their berths in the other hull 15 feet away, where Strykowski had stowed flares, lights and fresh water.
Sherman plunged first, setting a guide rope for Strykowski.
Successful in the underwater swim, he tugged the line twice for Strykowski to proceed. He was to pull hand-over-hand on the line to meet Sherman. What could go wrong? After all, Strykowski was a master diver, Sherman thought.
"I'm holding the line," Sherman recounted, "and I feel some movement. And then I don't feel anything. And then I wait and I wait and I'm going, 'This ain't good.' "
Sherman searched for Strykowski.
"He's gone," Sherman said. "I'm alone now and he left me."
Strykowski, 73, had been swept away. Like Cultra, he was never found.
"I'm alone. I'm trying to find things to make my situation better," Sherman said.
Stay with the boat
He remembered Cultra's advice for an accident: Stay with the boat.
Thirty-foot waves tossed the sailboat like a toy rattle, battering and bloodying Sherman inside. Darkness fell two hours after the capsizing.
Sherman thought he was sending an SOS signal to the world by activating an "epirb" -- short for emergency position indicating radiobeacon -- which is a satellite-connecting beacon that resembles a floatable walkie-talkie.
He tied it to his body, high and dry, for safekeeping but he didn't realize he was shutting it off by removing it from the water. Unknown to him, the Coast Guard became confused about the on-and-off distress call.
He slept the first night in the bathroom and shower. A life jacket and two five-gallon jugs of water buoyed him from drowning. He had donned a second wetsuit to fight the cold, but his teeth still chattered uncontrollably.
Every time Sherman nodded off, a splash awakened him.
The boom, now underwater, drummed against the cabin.
Fatigued and hungry the next morning, he scavenged for food.
"I found a bag of Bing cherries," he said, "and I thought I hit the lottery."
Despite his desperate situation, he had work to do.
Armed with a wood chisel and a hammer, Sherman spent four hours carving a hole in the bottom of the plywood-and-fiberglass hull, which was now the submerged boat's top deck and visible to any passing vessels. He bloodied his hand as the waves knocked him off balance.