Monday, November 03, 2008

San Diego Sailor Rescued After Rudder Shaft Fails

Ronnie Simpson has been to hell and back. Blown up in the Iraq war, he recovered and decided to sail the world. He ran into some very bad weather on the way to the islands and after the loss of his rudder, he activated his EPRIB and was rescued by a passing ship, which on the first attempt, ran down his boat. He rode the ship to China and is now hoping to continue his voyage around the world on a bike. Two things strike me as out of wack on this story. First, he was a very novice sailor to attempt such a crossing and secondly the weather window to Hawaii is in the summer, not the fall during cyclone season as well as early storms marching down from Alaska. As a matter of fact, I was at the beach the weekend before his rescue and a storm came thru and the waves were huge due to a cyclone passing off the coast. Maybe the same storm that hit him! Here is an excerpt from his log:

"As I write this, the ocean is slamming me with huge waves, and winds are at 25-30, even gusting to 35. Nothing I ever read about sailing to Hawaii mentioned winds gusting to 35. This can't be normal. I have put both reefs in the main, furled the jib way in, strapped everything down, etc, and am down below, attempting to ride this out. If it gets any worse, I will probably heave to, and ride it out. I absolutely can not believe the power that the ocean possesses. This is insane. It's not a storm, though. Just really strong wind.

The sun has mostly come out and it's not raining. It's even fairly warm out. Just windy! The longer it continues to blow, the bigger the seas continue to get. I am doing my best to maintain a positive attitude, as I realize I must, or else i'll go crazy. Luckily, this is a big, heavy boat with a big, heavy keel, and it appears to be handling everything pretty well. I am still in shock at how powerful the sea can become. For the first time of this trip, I am genuinely becoming very afraid, though. I am not letting this fear over ride me, but it is definitely keeping me on my toes. I just want a break though! I just want the wind to die down a bit! I am regretting my decision to go solo right now".

Read about his decision to pull the plug and more on his life on his blog.

No comments: