Here's another interesting story I wrote something on almost exactly a year ago that has sprung back to life again. CBS News will be running a piece called "The Dark Side of Paradise" on its award-winning program, 48 Hours, about the murder and disappearance of two cruising sailors in Panama in January last year. You can check out a trailer for the show at this link here (sorry, CBS won't let me embed it). And, of course, you can refresh your recollection by re-reading what I wrote last February.
News & Views
I confess I am now officially obsessed with the "Wild Viking," Norwegian Jarle Andhoey, and his latest unauthorized voyage to Antarctica. In case you haven't been checking the news online every few hours like I have, let me bring you up to date:
1. Andhoey is questioning whether New Zealand's navy is culpable in the loss of his previous boat, Berserk, which disappeared with three crew aboard during a storm in the Ross Sea last February while Andhoey and another crew member were attempting to reach the South Pole on ATV bikes. Andhoey, who has been communicating regularly with media outlets in Norway since leaving Auckland, New Zealand, last week, believes that a Kiwi naval vessel, HMNZS Wellington, may have ordered Berserk and her crew to leave a secure mooring in McMurdo Sound just one day prior to her being sunk in a storm in open water.
The New Zealand navy denies this is true, but admits the Wellington was in radio contact with Berserk the day before she was lost. The purpose of the communication, asserts the navy, was solely to advise Berserk's crew of the imminent storm.
The fanatic "Viking" sailor who lost his steel yacht Berserk and the lives of three crew members last February in a failed attempt to reach the South Pole by ATV is returning to the scene of the crime. Norwegian adventurer Jarle Andhoey, age 34, has obtained a new yacht, Nilaya, a 54-foot Kiwi-built steel sloop, and set out from New Zealand earlier this week for Antarctica, in spite of the fact that he (again) has no permits to travel there. Kiwi authorities launched an air/sea search for the vessel and reportedly located it yesterday, but could not detain it as it was already in international waters. Those aboard did not respond to radio calls.
YES, sports fans... the number is ONE FOUR ZERO. Gallons. That's about how much Extra Old rum I reckon the folks at Mt. Gay had to dole out at the conclusion of the Mt. Gay Rum Round Barbados Race last Saturday. Conditions for the race, now in its second year, were pretty much ideal and by the end of the day no fewer than six different boats had set course records of one description or another. Mt. Gay had pledged to award each record-setting boat its skipper's weight in rum, which means each boat received about 23.3 gallons of rum (assuming an average skipper's weight of 185 pounds and given that spirits weigh about 7.94 pounds per gallon).
I was crewing aboard Spirit of Juno, a Farr 65 chartered by Mt. Gay for the race, and though we did not win any rum, we did finish just a few seconds behind a 78-foot Reichel Pugh maxi, Idea, which set the absolute record for fastest monohull. It was easily the most exciting race finish I've ever been involved in, particularly as our spinnaker blew up just as we crossed the line. I urge you to check out a full account of the race that I posted on Mt. Gay's Sailing Spoken Here blog site.
Lucky me. Seems I've been promoted to the Mt. Gay Rum beat, my third excursion to the islands in the last two months. Up top you see the view of the anchorage at Bridgetown from my hotel room, a worthy reward for the hellish treatment I received yesterday at the hands of American Airlines. (May they rot in bankruptcy indefinitely.)
For a while I was thinking that Reid Stowe and Laura Dekker might actually bump into each other somewhere off the northeast coast of South America. But no--in spite of her slow rate of speed, Reid's schooner Anne managed to make landfall in Guyana earlier this week (January 9) and is now tied up in Georgetown, where apparently a figurehead on her bow poked out a window on a local pilot boat.
Editor's note: Matt Rutherford, currently sailing solo non-stop around the Americas aboard a very small boat, snuck around Cape Horn this morning. Here's an update I received from a buddy of his, Andy Schell, who maintains a blog at Father & Son Sailing.
It's round Cape Horn we all must go, Bring 'em down;
Arms all stiff to the ice and snow, Bring 'em down;
Oh, rock and roll me over boys, Bring 'em down;
And get this damn job over boys, Bring 'em down.
Matt Rutherford finished his blog post, which he uploaded via sat phone to his website early this morning, with that bit of a shanty. He was twenty-five miles east of Cape Horn in his 27-foot Albin Vega St. Brendan. Technically, Matt has not "rounded the Horn" – he must first clear 50 degrees North for that distinction. He is still sailing in the most notorious stretch of ocean in the world – but he has finally turned north.
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