September 2, 2008

Special Edition: Skip Allan Scuttles Wildflower

Skip Allan, one of the most accomplished sailors on the West Coast, had sailed Wildflower the equivalent of two-plus circumnavigations before scuttling her 250 miles offshore.

latitude/LaDonna
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Skip Allan, who was on his way home after handily winning the Singlehanded TransPac aboard his custom Wylie 27 Wildflower, was picked up by a freighter yesterday afternoon after scuttling his boat 250 miles west of San Francisco.

Wildflower had made good time on the return trip, and Skip had been looking at a Monday or Tuesday arrival in Santa Cruz. But the gale force conditions he was experiencing on Sunday morning grew worse throughout the day. By Sunday afternoon, Skip was in contact with the Coast Guard via a shoreside contact, informing them of his position and status. Skip reported that he was running under bare poles in 30- to 40-knot winds and 10- to 15-ft seas, but he did not plan to abandon ship.

By yesterday morning, the seas had built to 18 to 20 feet and the winds were upwards of 50 knots. According to USCG Petty Officer Kevin Neff, unspecified damage to Wildflower and the worsening sea state prompted Skip to request assistance around 11 a.m. As he was about 250 miles offshore and it would take some time to get assets to his location, the Coast Guard put out an alert to all vessels in his area. The Liberian-flagged freighter MSC Toronto was nearby and made it to Wildflower‘s position by early afternoon. They were slated to arrive in L.A. sometime today.

As he prepared to leave the boat that had taken him more than 60,000 miles in the last 30+ years, Skip Allan’s concern was for others. Instead of leaving Wildflower afloat to possibly be salvaged later, Skip scuttled her so she wouldn’t be a hazard to navigation.

Before scuttling his boat, Skip was able to retrieve the two perpetual trophies he won in the Singlehanded TransPac.

latitude/LaDonna
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As for the last two TransPac boats still working their way home, Ken ‘The General’ Roper’s last reported position put Harrier over 200 miles behind Wildflower, and Rob Tryon on Feolena was another 200+ miles behind Harrier. Roper was reporting rough conditions but nothing like what Wildflower experienced. His daughter Lee says that he’s "riding it out." Feolena is nowhere near the storm and is currently beating against the Trades.

We received the tragic news that Terry Bingham of the Seattle-based Union 36 Secret O’ Life passed away yesterday in a Bolivian hospital due to acute pancreatitis.
We were glad to find out this morning that Defiance, the trimaran owned by Spectra Watermakers founder Bill Edinger, is safely home in Sausalito after a compromised hull forced the crew to call for assistance 150 miles west of Pt.
Former Bay Area sailors Andy and Jill Rothman snapped this shot of BMW Oracle’s new boat from their home in Puget Sound’s San Juan Islands.