On the morning of May 31, Bay Area kayaker Cyril Derreumaux paddled out the Golden Gate on a solo journey to Honolulu, HI. The 43-year-old father of two expected to paddle 2,400 nm over 70 days, solo and unsupported. However on Saturday, June 5, the US Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders received a report at 9:42 p.m. “from a kayaker who was making a solo voyage from Sausalito to Honolulu.” Cyril was rescued on Sunday morning approximately 70 miles west of Santa Cruz.
Upon his leaving San Francisco Bay, progress had been steady, and Cyril’s InReach message on ‘Day 1’ indicated all was well. “Great day, seeing lots of whales along the route. Paddled for the entire day only stopping once for a 1/2 hour nap in the cabin. Stopping for the day to use the good conditions to deploy the sea anchor and work on a routine for the nights to come.” By the third day the swell and wind had increased and were forecast to keep increasing over the coming days. Cyril then spent a number of days on the sea anchor waiting for conditions to improve and allow him back into the seat to continue his journey. On the fifth day he wrote, “Still on anchor. Valentine is my cocoon and I feel safe even with the noisy waves crashing on me. I feel rested even if I wake up every one to two hours to check plotter.”
After three days on anchor riding out 30- to 35-knot winds with gusts to 45 knots and rough seas with troughs of 4.5 meters, during which Cyril reported, “the waves breaking on the cabin of my kayak with an impressive noise,” the kayaker’s ground crew told him they had lost his AIS signal for three hours — the GPS signal had been lost and could not be recovered. In a sudden turn of events the sea anchor now also appeared to be damaged and the kayak began behaving erratically. “In a few moments my kayak was positioned almost parallel to the axis of the waves, and I found myself violently tossed from side to side, along with all the equipment that was stored in the cabin,” Cyril reported. It quickly became clear to the solo kayaker that he could not safely enter the water to deal with the problem. “Attempts to get out to more accurately assess the condition of the sea anchor and to resolve the issue were unsuccessful and resulted in water entering my cabin.”
Throughout this time Cyril was in constant contact with his land-based support crew discussing the circumstances. “As night had just fallen, it was clear that the situation was not sustainable: inability to eat, drink, sleep, communicate easily with my team ashore.” They jointly decided to contact the US Coast Guard to explore all their options. “Being still quite close to land (60 nm) and considering the deteriorating weather conditions which could have made a rescue operation more complex and dangerous for all in the days to come, I made the very difficult decision to request an evacuation.”
In the early hours of Sunday, June 6, the USCG hoisted the tired but uninjured adventurer into a helicopter and returned to Air Station San Francisco. Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll said, “Recognizing that the situation was beyond his capabilities and calling for assistance allowed our crews to reach him in time for a successful rescue.”
The USCG posted this video of the rescue on their Twitter page:
— USCGPacificSouthwest (@USCGPacificSW) June 7, 2021
Cyril and his team are now working on a plan to recover the kayak and ultimately get Cyril back onto the water and on his way to Hawaii.
The annual World Oceans Day arrives tomorrow, June 8. Rather than give it the usual quick recognition, we asked writer Tim Henry to give us a more in-depth look at the state of the oceans in our June issue. Although Tim’s story still only scratches the surface of a topic that includes ocean plastics, coral bleaching, overfishing and much more, as with all big projects, you have to start somewhere.
Fortunately, the Bay Area is home to many pioneering efforts to clean the oceans, and they’re joined by thousands of other ocean-health campaigners around the world. Cal 40 sailor, cruiser, and surfer Liz Clark has been a tireless ocean-health advocate. Her website offers 10 tips to contribute to a better world. Ocean ambassador Sylvia Earle has been creating ‘Hope Spots’ around the world with Mission Blue. The Story of Stuff in Berkeley works hard to prevent the problems at their source. There is no doubt that to love the ocean, it helps to be in or on it as a sailor, surfer or diver — and sailors might be all three.
Elsewhere around the country, other organizations are also doing their part to help the state of our oceans. Sailors for the Sea promotes Clean Regattas, encouraging sailors and sailing event organizers to run environmentally sustainable events. US Sailing promotes environmental stewardship through its STEM program and the CleanGreen organizers. And there are many more organizations that we haven’t yet mentioned.
The good news is that the need for preserving the oceans is now well recognized, and people everywhere are finding more ways to help. That could be as simple as sailing more and motoring less, retrieving any plastic you see from the ocean, or contributing to the many organizations that continue the hard work of restoring the ocean to good health. We’ll be bringing you more stories on ocean sustainability throughout the month of June and would love to hear from you about what you are doing and what you think needs to be done. The next generations will be grateful to all generations who contribute to making a difference for ocean and planetary health now.
Leave your ideas in the comments below, or write to us here.
What would your Northern California cruising advice be to someone who bought their first boat during the pandemic? Over the past year, boat sales have been booming as people have stayed home and rediscovered the beauty of the Bay and its close-to-home escape. It’s a world-renowned sailing venue, but it can feel short of cruising destinations. Sonya David and Jack Patton of Two the Horizon wrote our story in the April issue about many of their favorite Bay Area cruising destinations, so now we’re wondering about your plans or your recommendations to first-time boat owners.
Sonya and Jack are also 2021 Summer Sailstice ambassadors, which means they’re reaching out to ‘friends and family’ in their sailing community to help get the whole world sailing on the weekend of June 19. They recently took a cruise to another of Northern California’s sailing destinations, Half Moon Bay, and produced a video about their cruise and Summer Sailstice.
Sonya and Jack are terrific ambassadors, as they have been living aboard for several years, restoring and upgrading their 1986 Passport 42 Gemini, and have been sharing sailing and their experiences with everyone they can. Their video was filmed during their recent Half Moon Bay staycation on the boat. If you’re thinking of going, it will show you the way. Though we suspect you’ll have to dress more warmly than Sonya did as they sailed out the Gate.
If you were going to be an ambassador to all the new boat owners wondering where to go and what to do with their new sailboat this summer, what would you recommend? We recently talked to two dock neighbors with more ambitious ideas, each of them planning a longer summer cruise to Southern California’s Channel Islands.
Let us know where you plan to cruise this summer, and don’t forget to join Jack and Sonya on June 19 by signing up for Summer Sailstice to #raiseyoursails with Two the Horizon and sailors around the world.
USA’s Collision Gives Japan the Win at SailGP Taranto Event
At this weekend’s SailGP event in Taranto, Italy, Jimmy Spithill and Team USA brought a sense of urgency, flair and a bit of Italian machismo. It was a “homecoming” of sorts for the America’s Cup star, who previously served on Luna Rossa in AC 36.
Unfortunately for the American team, they came up short with an ill-timed collision with a foreign object as they rounded the fourth gate for the final upwind leg, handing the final’s win to Nate Outteridge and Team Japan. The US team had a comfortable lead into the finish line at the time. Spain moved to the top of the leaderboard for the season championship. For the first time in the last three events, someone with a name other than Sir Ben Ainslie stood atop the victory podium. Ainslie sat this one out for reasons that haven’t quite been fully explained.
SailGP organizers opted for just three crew onboard rather than the usual five because of the light-air conditions. This put a premium on crew work for those on board having to do the jobs of two people — and in some situations, three!
“With three people on board you don’t have much time to look at the competition. When the United States wiped out it was a really easy decision to tack straight away. That effectively won us the race,” said Outteridge. “We’ll thank Jimmy Spithill for that one!”
“Extremely tough way to end it,” said Spithill. “We were really sailing a perfect race. All we had to do was round the mark and head to the finish. Now I know how a Formula 1 driver feels when you have two corners to go and you have an engine fail.”
The UFO hit with enough impact to break the top of the F50’s carbon-fiber wing-tipped rudder. “Some things are just out of your control,” said Spithill “You can’t control having a significant impact under the water. These things will happen.”
Interview with USA’s Jimmy Spithill
Spithill, originally from Australia, now calls Point Loma in San Diego home. Latitude 38 was able to track him down for a quick one-on-one.
L38: Even though the results were disheartening after the ‘incident’ in the finals, you have to feel positive about your team’s performance this weekend. What do you think were the keys to success and what do you bring forward to the next event in Portsmouth?
Jimmy Spithill: “In Italy we showed that we have what it takes to potentially win an event. We’re going to keep working hard and doing the same things we’ve been doing; the results will come.”
L38: How much of a challenge was it to race with just three crew aboard? On the AC 50s as well as the AC45s had you ever practiced or trained with just three? How do you prepare for that type of change?
JS: “Full credit goes to Paul Campbell-James and Rome Kirby. We were able to perform as well as we did because they’re incredible athletes who rose to the occasion.”
L38: There have been some rules changes between Bermuda and Italy, primarily stemming from the collision between you and Nate. What were your thoughts about the penalty assessment? Did the changes solve any concerns the teams may have had about safety? Did you or any of the other teams have any type of input in the changes?
JS: “I’d like to think we helped SailGP make those changes after Bermuda. Though we wish they had been in place at the start of the season, we’re glad to see the league take action.”
L38: It seems as if this weekend would have been a perfect opportunity to get the women sailors onboard. When do you think it will be realistic to have them crew during a race? Would adding a race with mixed-gender crew on all teams be an option?
JS: “Daniela Moroz has been an awesome addition to our team this season. We’ve been rotating her into practice as she begins to learn how to sail the F50. Learning how to sail this boat takes time. We want to do her skills credit by giving her every chance to succeed and asking her to race when she’s ready.”
L38: What does she need to work on most to rotate on board in a race situation? You have worked with Californians Andrew Campbell and Cooper Dressler in the past on Oracle Team USA. What qualities do they bring to Team USA?
JS: “A lot of our team raced together on Oracle Team USA including Andrew and Cooper. The best quality they’ve brought, regardless of the campaign, is the same one we’ve seen in Daniela: a commitment to work as hard as possible. That’s why they’ve been successful in the sport. It must be something they teach in California.”
L38: It must have seemed like an “Italian” homecoming this weekend. What was it like to sail in front of the passionate Italian fans and against Francesco Bruni? How was it seeing your co-helmsman again?
JS: “It did feel like a homecoming. Italian sports fans are some of the best in the world. Dai cazzo!”
Every so often a reader is inspired to wax lyrical about the joy they find in sailing. On this occasion, the joy happens to involve a chair in Mexico.
‘The Chair’ by Whye Waite.
There’s a magical place. A place with a specific chair, well, maybe two chairs, where time is bequeathed to stand still, where the outside world is cast aside like a stone and not allowed to touch you.
Where you are permitted, no, invited, to idle your mind, sit at peace, one with your soul.
A place so serene it’s often overlooked. It isn’t a fancy place by any stretch of the imagination.
It’s a daunting journey to find this oasis, yet once there, your emotions will flow from hidden places deep in your being.
Emotions you’ve seldom felt.
Your bare feet will transfer the region’s spiritual energy subcutaneously through unknown pathways.
The soft sand will wrap itself lovingly around your feet as you place one wet, ocean-soaked foot in front of the other. It will bathe you in a calming sheltered aura that rises seductively, unknowingly, around your legs, up past your waist, caressing your soul, enveloping every part of your being.
As you get closer to the chairs, one, in particular, will call to you. You’ll look around to see if anyone else is heading for it, but they won’t. This is your destiny; a time of mind-calming peace awaits.
Your life’s journey is about to become an altar placed at your feet.
The chair is spartan — wind- and ocean-tattered wood slats flare from its firm, tractor-seat-like wooden base. Four aged, faded piano legs make up its foundation. Spartan indeed.
It’s magic unknown by most who rest their carcass on its sturdy mount. Yet, for those who allow its place in history, a magical moment is at hand.
Sitting in the chair will reset your destiny.
A sentence-ending sigh will whisper past your lips. Your arms will instinctively raise and take their rightful place on the worn rests.
A warm ocean breeze will lightly toss your salt-stained, unwashed hair, and send a refreshing chill across your neck.
Days of adventurous sailing will blend peacefully with the tiki-hut bar behind you — the glassy bay cast in front of you, pearl-like wavelets lapping at the white sand. Staring out at your well-anchored sailboat ignites the flowing juices of the chair.
Leaning back causes the rear legs to dig ideally into the sand.
Rogelio approaches, offering cold beer. “Ahhh, si por favor,” spews effortlessly from your lips.
George nods his head in agreement. “We’ve come a long way,” he sighs.
“Indeed,” is all you can muster.
You allow the soft breeze to carry away your thoughts, vanishing with the ocean’s magic wand. Your feet dig into the warm, massaging sand, causing your head to tilt back into the contoured headrest.
The cold beer coats your throat as an all-knowing smile appears.
Words need not be spoken.
Thank you to Whye Waite, Tally Ho (crew, Baja Ha-Ha 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019) Nauticat 43, Puerto Vallarta, MX, for this fun and no doubt true story about Mexico.