A 21-day return passage from Hawaii isn’t shabby for any boat, but it’s downright miraculous for one that lost her keel nearly 800 miles from the beach. But Ronnie Simpson has once again proven that miracles do happen, this time by sailing under the Gate early this morning.
Last Wednesday night, the 2,500-lb keel on the Jutson 30 Warrior’s Wish — owned by ’08 Singlehanded TransPac vet Don Gray and loaned to Simpson for this summer’s running of the event — parted ways with the remaining 3,500 lbs of boat. "We heard a series of loud pops," Simpson’s crew and mentor, Ed McCoy, told us after safely tying up to the docks at Bay Marine in Richmond this morning. "Yeah, then when Ed tried to tack," Ronnie jumped in, "nothing happened." A dive on the hull the next morning revealed the missing appendage.
"Since we didn’t capsize, Ed said we should just start motoring," said Simpson. "But we learned pretty quickly that we needed the jib up to stablize the boat, otherwise we were rolling pretty bad." Logging an easy six knots for most of the remainder of the trip, the guys seemingly lost little time after their potentially disasterous incident. "I’d guess they lost less than a day," noted boat owner Don Gray, who flew in to greet the duo.
At O’Dark Thirty, four boats escorted the wounded Warrior under the Gate as she motored to Richmond. Thai food and beer were passed to her crew, cheers were sounded, and everyone marveled at this pair’s ability to sail so far with so little. Look for a full report on the incident in the September issue of Latitude 38.