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Southern Spars

4 Atlantic attempts, 4 rescues, 4 boats lost- is this a record?

by Sail-World Cruising Round-up on 15 May 2013
Erma setting off, full of hope .. .
'The greatest risk in life is in not taking one.' These were the words of 72-year-old British sailor and author Trevor Wilson when he was rescued for the fourth time in an Atlantic crossing attempt, just 70 miles off the United States coastline. Each Atlantic crossing attempt, some of which succeeded, ended with the loss of his sloop, Erma.

He is now recovering in hospital and maybe wondering if there's some other risk he could take that would have a better outcome. The United States Coast Guard reported: 'Wilson activated his 406 megahertz emergency position indicating radio beacon at approximately 6 a.m., which alerted the Coast Guard fifth District Watchstanders.

Watchstanders deployed an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to search the EPRIB’s indicated location.

The helicopter crew located the sailing boat Erma and made contact via VHF-FM radio. Wilson, an ex-merchant navy man, reported to the aircrew he had been unconscious for seven hours and believed that he had fallen and hit his head.

The aircrew deployed a rescue swimmer who took Wilson off his sailboat and took him to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.'

It was in 2000 that Trevor Wilson first made an attempt at a lifelong dream of sailing alone across the Atlantic.

He had been originally inspired by the true story of the remarkable voyage of 16 exiled men, women and children aboard a 70 year-old 36ft double ended wooden sloop, Erma, from Stockholm in the Baltic to Norfolk, Virginia in America, and set off. A broken rudder ended that trip and he had to be rescued and lost his sailboat.

In 2002, undaunted, he tried again, but this time was caught in a hurricane. On this second attempt he broke three ribs and his arm, was rescued, losing his sailboat once again.

He wouldn't give in. He somehow acquired a third yacht and this time actually made the crossing, arriving off the coastline of Guyana. However, he lost this boat too, sunk in ten minutes after being driven onto submerged rocks off Devil's Island, as a result of being struck by lightning which had caused a dismasting.

In the meantime, he wrote a book about his experiences, 'Sailing alone across the Atlantic', which you can purchase by http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sailing-Alone-Across-Atlantic-Pensioners/dp/190605097X!clicking_here.

Finally, this week a fourth disaster and a fourth boat loss. Here watch the video of his fourth rescue:

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