'Ahoy, sailing vessel, Nereida,' we might well shout if we encountered courageous Brit sailing star, Jeanne Socrates, in the Tasman as she approaches Stewart Island at the foot of the long streak of New Zealand tonight.
|Life with some ocean waves ... Jeanne Socrates approaches Stewart Island, right where my yacht was trapped in a fog-filled calm and beached, and rescued by a near-miracle.|
Of course, had the windmill on the stern of the schooner put enough charge into the batteries, VHF might well have worked.
Surrounded by sharks
(It was VHF that saved my life and the life of my lady shipmate in a shark-surrounded liferaft near the Roaring Forties on another voyage, so I'm certainly not knocking VHF.)
Jeanne is attempting to win records as the oldest woman to sail solo nonstop unassisted around the world. She wants, too, to be the first woman to sail solo nonstop unassisted around the world from North America. That very brave lady has been out there alone in the watery wilderness for 220 days.
I felt it was time to signal the admiration of this blogger and followers of the blog. I tried to send the message via the email address given on an amateur radio site.
|Life's but a spec on a great ocean ... Jeanne Socrates closes Stewart Island, south of New Zealand, where a powerful tide dragged Paul's yacht aground in thick fog.|
A foggy pea-souper
I wanted to send her a 'Take care' message because when I was close to her position on my circumnavigation, I found myself suddenly wrapped in a thick peasouper of a fog.
The wind dropped. Spirit of Pentax bobbed around for several hours.
Suddenly, a mighty wallop resounded through the 12-foot keel. The schooner had been caught in an invisible tide and swept onto an equally invisible beach.
A few minutes passed as I tried to assess the seemingly hopeless chances of survival. Then the fog lifted a little, and a fishing trawler hove into sight. I could hardly believe my eyes.
I told Jeanne, 'I called the trawler and within about ten minutes he had pulled me from the beach back into the water.
'Considering the yacht had a twelve feet deep keel, it was some tow. The good fellow refused to accept any money for the rescue.'
And that's just about where Jeanne is right now. Take care, Jeanne!