Skip to content

NARC Sailor Missing

Rob and Jan Anderson

Triple Stars
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We’re sad to report that Baja Ha-Ha vet Jan Anderson, 59, of the formerly Sausalito-based Island Packet 380 Triple Stars was washed overboard on Friday afternoon about 185 miles northwest of Bermuda while participating in the North American Rally to the Caribbean (NARC). Her husband Rob, also 59, activated the boat’s EPIRB and called a mayday to report that Jan had been swept away by a 30-ft wave.

The Coast Guard dispatched an HC-130 Hercules SAR plane to the area, and the 600-ft tanker High Jupiter diverted to aid in the search, as well as to take Rob off Triple Stars. Tragically, the search was suspended on Saturday afternoon with no sign of Jan. Rob is aboard High Jupiter, which is bound for France, and Triple Stars is currently adrift.

Triple Stars anchored off Las Perlas, Panama in October ’08.

Triple Stars
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Andersons, formerly of Rohnert Park, started their cruising career during the ’07 Baja Ha-Ha, with the goal of transiting the Panama Canal and working their way through the Caribbean and up the East Coast to their summer home in Maine. They spent the last few years renovating their house, but recently decided to join the NARC.

Not to be confused with the Caribbean 1500, the NARC runs around the same time as the former, but departs from Newport, RI instead of Hampton, VA, and ends in St. Martin instead of Tortola. Triple Stars was one of 21 boats that left Newport on November 1 bound for Bermuda (the fleet would then continue to St. Martin after refueling). The initial forecast was for a relatively easy trip to Bermuda, but Tropical Storm Sean settled in between Bermuda and the Bahamas for four days, resulting in rough conditions for much of the fleet.

In addition to the tragic loss of Jan Anderson, at least two other boats sought assistance during the passage: Elle, a 46-ft Beneteau, and Riot, an Orion 50. On November 6, a crewmember aboard Elle suffered a rib injury after being thrown across the cabin. The crew tried to continue on but eventually requested rescue about 180 miles northwest of Bermuda. During the rescue by the 387-ft container ship Oleander, one crewmember fell between the ship and Elle. He was in the water for about 30 minutes before being safely retrieved. Elle is also adrift.

A crewmember aboard Elle fell between the 400-ft ship and the 46-ft Beneteau.

© Christopher Melrose

Riot, crewed by several young men, had a number of gear failures before the steering failed on the approach to St. George’s Harbor, Bermuda. A pilot boat attempted to tow the stricken boat, but the damage to the steering apparently made it impossible. In the end, Riot made it into port on her own, though her owner estimates the damages to be upward of $10,000.

West Coast sailors definitely have an easier time getting to the tropics than do our bretheren on the East Coast. The latter have to thread the needle between late-season tropical storms and the first winter storms. As a result, the Caribbean 1500 has delayed it’s start a number of times — including this year. Even so, it’s not uncommon for participants to have to deal with winds in excess of 40 knots and the associated heavy seas. Our thoughts are with those still at sea, as well as the Anderson family.

Leave a Comment

"Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, is it ever great to be back in Mexico!" That’s all we and a lot of Mexico cruising vets have been saying in the last week as we moved on following the end of the Baja Ha-Ha rally.