Chuck Muer 1975

It's been almost 20 years since Chuck Muer, his wife and two friends disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.

Chuck Muer was a VERY successful rennovator of historical buildings and restauranteur. He was from Michigan and had many high profile restaurants in SE Michigan.  Yesterday I photographed one of Chuck's greatest rennovations, the Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor.  Read that story here..

While I was working on that story I wondered whatever became of the search for Muer who's 40 ft boat disappeared on a trip from the Bahamas to Jupiter Florida in 1993.

Talk about a COLD case...I can't find a photo of his boat "Charley's Crab". Can't find a photo of Chuck and his wife...weird... A week after the disappearance this case totally dropped off the radar. They searched for him and his party as  peenie wallie humorously describes..

They never found a trace from the wreck, and they searched like it mattered. They mounted a massive search and rescue operation, because the guy was as rich as Croesus, so they searched for him like it mattered. This wasn't a Coast Guard search for a Haitian clinging to a palm tree in the Gulf Stream. This was a "Holy Shit a jillionaire is missing calling-all-cars search-and-rescue" and they never found a trace of him. Nada.

Chuck Muer

Chuck is famous for leaving his sales job at IBM and jumping into building restaurants.
That decision, resulted in a restaurant empire that grosses more than $60 million annually. The Pittsburgh/Lake Erie train station became the 500-seat Grand Concourse (above), his single biggest money-maker.

Then the unthinkable happened...Chuck, his wife, Betty, and their friends, George and Lynn Drummey, disappeared at sea when a monster storm pummeled the East Coast. His red-hulled 40-foot Charley`s Crab was last seen on March 12, 1993 sailing northwest from the Bahamas, apparently en route to Jupiter, where it was due on March 13. They never made it to port...

LANTANA -- At 4:25 a.m. March 13, 1993, a call came into the 911 emergency center in Palm Beach County.

An operator took the call, but could hear nothing. Nothing but the crackle of static.

The weather had been clear and calm two days earlier when Charles and Betty Muer, joined by lifelong friends George and Lynn Drummey, set sail from the Bahamas for the trip back to Florida. Now, in the early morning darkness,they were losing a desperate battle against 30-foot seas and winds of 70 miles an hour.

At 4:27 a.m., a second call to the 911 center. Again, nothing. Nothing but static.

It was the last anyone would hear from Charley's Crab.

20 years later, no trace of the 40-foot ketch or its four occupants has ever been found. They remain unaccounted for -- presumed victims of the "Storm of the Century."

Crew members aboard a Coast Guard Falcon jet were among the last to see the Charley`s Crab. The jet, on routine patrol, flew over the boat at 2:45 p.m. March 12 as the Charley`s Crab headed northwest from Chub Cay toward the Great Isaac Light, a light tower used as a local landmark on the western edge of the Bahamas.

The location of the boat ``would have put it on a track headed home,`` Coast Guard spokesman Joe Dye said.

The Charley`s Crab also had been seen the previous day, March 11, at Chub Cay.

He came in, he circled around the marina, and he went back out,`` said Gerreth Roberts, dock master at the Chub Cay Club Marina.

The last time anyone on the boat was heard from was on March 11 when George Drummey called his son from Nassau, Mari Muer said. ``He just said, `We`re in Nassau; see you on Saturday,``` she said.

Muer, a skilled sailor, apparently left only a general itinerary with his business associates and seven children. He sailed from Florida on March 2 or 3, and his wife and the others flew to meet him in Paradise Island. They were to sail from Nassau to Chub Cay in the Berry Islands chain and leave there on March 11 for Jupiter.

Sailors at Chub Cay said Muer might have thought the weather would be much less severe than it was, based on forecasts received on March 11.

``Nobody expected that severe a storm,`` said Donald Farrar, of Connecticut, who weathered the storm in his 26-foot Snapdragon off Chub Cay. ``The forecast was for 30 to 40 knots, with occasional gusts. Nobody expected 70 to 80 knots. It was a wicked thing.` Read More

Chuck Muer

This is for Retro Kimmer...

Chuck Muer was my first culinary hero. At 10 years old in 1964, my father took me to his friend who lived next to Charley's Crab on Pine Lake (before it burned down). I was mesmerized by all the cars and beautiful people who valet parked and enjoyed his restaurant on a warm summers evening. When I moved to West Bloomfield in 1984, Muer had a restaurant at Maple and Orchard Lake Roads. "Mussels a la Muer, Teacup Bread with Honey Cinnamon Butter, and Crab Stuffed Flounder" were but a few of his trademark recipes.

I met him several times at this location, always cordial and dressed in his signature bow tie. 20 years ago this March, he and Betty were lost at sea (along with George and Lynn Drummey of the Drummey Oldsmobile dealership fame).

The family published two cookbooks posthumously which I bought and truly treasure. One has a picture of Chuck and his beautiful wife Betty which I share here. His passing ended a hallmark in the Detroit restaurant establishment that has been rarely duplicated since. Michael McDaniel


Anonymous said...

Credits should go to the people he left behind, in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Anonymous said...

There are old sailors, and there are bold sailors, but there are no old bold sailors.

Anonymous said...

I met "Charlie " many years ago, sailing the Great Lakes. His Red mainsail's on his Freedom 40 with the giant crabs is definitely missed. My heart is still heavy with the loss..... I hope all is well with the family and friends.... God Bless...
Terry Day
Born Raised Battle Creek, MI
Home Port Holland, Michigan
Currently living outside Seattle

steve emery said...

I was watching a dvd on the Bermuda triangle and I saw his boat.This could have been at least six years ago. I do not have anymore info

Unknown said...

It's not the words one remembers from these once in a lfetime people that come along It's the electricity they jolt you with from their sense of motivation of anything they say, do or touch. The voltage is contagious and lives all around us. To paraphrase our Native forefathers Chiefs of this land. If you listen carefully the spirits of great leaders are heard as the wind, rustling through the leaves of trees that surround us. No generation can avoid it. Cheerish the gift. Well done Mr. Muer.

Anonymous said...

the drummies were not the olds people.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance and arrogance with a god like complex. I know the true story behind this and as well I know that boat that was parked in front of Pal's for several months. I thought it was a 1927 38' schooner. No matter what it was it was very narrow beamed with limited power. Making that crossing in March is unquestionably wrong. He's a boater alright in the summertime on Lake Michigan or perhaps learned in Australia. I know the captain on a 65' custom Donzi that was hanging tight and advised him do as well. The weather when he left was 25-30 with bid seas on the bank. He insisted that he was going to make the crossing back to Jupiter. If he had survived he should have been charged with triple homicide! What a dumb ass! Lack of knowledge and respect for the ocean. Pure stupidity!

Anonymous said...

Sure! People don't want to here the truth!

Anonymous said...

Sailing lessons from Australia!

Anonymous said...

I worked in one of Muer's restaurants. As for the poster above who said Chuck was arrogant, I concur.

Anonymous said...

I started bartending for Charley's Crab in Grand Rapids in 1987, then transferred managed the one and only D.C. Muer restaurant and remember the day vividly when they called all of us on to inform us of what happened. Eerily Monday is the 24th Anniversary and we are expecting a Nor'easter.

Unknown said...

Confident man. Great man. I knew him well. Kind, generous, great father. Took giant risks to break away from IBM and family restaurants already exsisting in Detroit. Now, here you are, ready to slander his great name posthumously. Im priveledged to have known him and experienced this rare, beautiful, radiant, positive energy that you can only call arrogant. Chuck is immortal along with his grandfather, father, and extended family. No internet troll can take this away. Isn't that right, Mr Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Well now, Mr. Unknown, (kind of ironic isn't it? Mr. Unknown derisively calling me Mr. Anonymous?) Chuck Muer may have been great to you and a lot of other people. But he was not great, and he WAS arrogant, when he chose to demean me in front of the entire restaurant staff and management at a meeting, instead of talking to me privately and hearing my side of the story about an issue which I ended up not even losing my job over. I guess I wasn't worthy of a private audience with such a great man. It's not a great feeling when your boss watches the owner of the company putting you down in front of everybody. I could have given it back to him at that meeting and probably lost my job, but I figured it wasn't worth losing a decent income over his little tantrum. He was so mad his face was red. Mr. Unknown, you should consider that you didn't see every moment of a man's life before you call somebody a slanderer and a troll for having a different opinion about that man than you do.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Chuck Muir at Charlie's Crab in Jupiter. His boat was docked there, and that's where it departed from on that fateful journey to the Bahamas. His daughter, Susan, was the GM and was married to a sketchy local developer at the time who everyone said had ties to the mafia. There was speculation that this could have been more than just an accident. Chuck was an arrogant bastard indeed. A day before he set sail we had a staff meeting. A concern was raised as to why the restaurant charged the bartenders and waitstaff 2.75% of their sales to cover credit card expenses and Chuck explained it away with some BS story. Personally, I felt sorry for the family, but no so much for Chuck. I chalked it up to karma. He rests with the fishes.

Anonymous said...

I always found it ironic that after serving so much seafood over his career, that he died at sea.

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