Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clew Ring New Generic

7 year old boy finds message in a bottle sent by Sailor Brad Van Liew

by Meaghan Van Liew on 4 Nov 2011
A triumphant Brad Van Liew wins the Velux 5 Oceans Ainhoa Sanchez/Velux 5 Oceans
As American Brad Van Liew readied himself for the ultimate solo challenge of circling the globe under sail, his children had questions. Wyatt, 6, asked about the weather and the sharks. Tate, 8, wanted to know why he had to go. She also wondered about the oceans he would be crossing and what might happen at sea. The unpredictable environment worried her. Before Van Liew raced across the start line in France to conquer what would be his third globetrotting track of victory under sail, young Tate asked if he would take a moment at the equator to send off a message in a bottle from her, with the hopes that it might be found some day and she would know where it traveled.

'I was off the coast of Brazil headed for Cape Town, South Africa,' said Van Liew. 'I had cleared the doldrums and the southeasterly trades were pushing me along at 15 knots. Despite the racing, Tate's message was a priority as I crossed the equator. I videotaped myself sending off the message in a bottle, knowing full well it may never reach another human and Tate's questions may go unanswered.'

Nine months later the delicate glass bottle had acquired some barnacles and seagrass before washing onto the small, secluded beach of Guana Bay on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. Seven year old Michael Raczynski, a second grader and a karate enthusiast from the Warsaw suburbs of Poland, found the bottle and opened it to find Tate's message.

'I'm shocked,' said Van Liew. 'I would have expected it to maybe land on a beach in Brazil. Instead the bottle traveled more than 2,250 miles to arrive in St. Maarten. Just think, if it had travelled even further into the Caribbean it could have hooked into the Gulfstream and made it all the way to Europe.'

When the Van Liews received a letter at their home in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina with a return address that indicated a sender in Poland they assumed it was from the family of Zbigniew Gutowski, a fellow sailboat racer who had challenged Van Liew throughout the Velux 5 Oceans race. To their surprise inside was a letter addressed to Tate from Michael Raczynski, written with the help of his father. He explained that they regularly search the beach for 'pirate treasure' and found the bottle amongst the shells and rocks along the coast that faces the Atlantic Ocean. Enclosed were photos of the bottle, Van Liew's letter written for Tate and a photo of the beach landing sight and Michael. In an e-mail exchange since receiving the news of the message in a bottle, Zbigniew Raczynski noted, 'I said many times you never know whom you will meet and what will be tomorrow.'

The Van Liews intend to stay in touch with Michael and his family, but communications will likely include the postal service and email, as opposed to the first communication via bottle which took nine months and 2,250 miles of open Le Pingouin Ocean Racing website

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring One DesignNewport Boat Show 2016 660x82

Related Articles

LMAX Exchange wins the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race
LMAX Exchange was confirmed last night as winner of Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race. LMAX Exchange, skippered by Frenchman Olivier Cardin, was confirmed last night as winner of the tenth edition of the world’s longest ocean race, the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race.
Posted today at 9:03 am
CYCA Land Rover Gold Coast Race - Images of supermaxi Scallywag
Sydney photographer Michael Chittenden filed this gallery of images from the start. The supermaxi Scallywag made her ocean racing debut in the CYCA Land Rover Gold Coast Race which got underway on Sydney harbour on Saturday afternoon. After a tight start the David Witt skippered supermaxi settled into her work and began the chase with her long standing rival, Wild Oats XI.
Posted today at 7:19 am
Edgartown Race Week - Final
It was a rainy and dreary start to the day out here on Marth’s Vineyard. The racing started at 11:00. It was a rainy and dreary start to the day out here on Marth’s Vineyard. By 11:00, it became a blustery and rainy day. The racing started at 11:00 and I haven’t sailed in that much rain in a while.
Posted today at 6:20 am
Nic Douglass - On the dock and on board with the 'fat bottomed girl'
Nic Douglass, caught up with the crew of the supermaxi, Comanche, after she had completed her latest mission Adventures of a Sailor Girl, Nic Douglass, caught up with the crew of the supermaxi, Comanche, after she had completed her latest mission and had chopped 27.5hrs off the trans-Atlantic Race Record for a manually powered monohull. The last time I was waiting for Comanche to arrive after achieving a goal that they had set out to achieve was a very different scene
Posted today at 5:25 am
CYCA Land Rover Gold Coast Race - Replay coverage of the start
Replay coverage of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Race start Replay coverage of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Race start. The fleet got away to a clean start this afternoon in Sydney. The supermaxi, Wild Oats XI (Oatley family) led the 177 strong fleet through Sydney Heads, with ScallywagHK, the former Ragamuffin 100 in second place. Commentary bought to you by Bob Killick and Warwick Rooklyn.
Posted today at 4:33 am
SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Alinghi apply the pressure in Hamburg
Morgan Larson’s dominant Omani team who go into the clubhouse in first place at the half way stage of the Act. 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ - A sunny day on the River Elbe coupled with a lively breeze saw SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Alinghi challenge Oman Air for honours on the second day of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Hamburg, but it’s Morgan Larson’s dominant Omani team who go into the clubhouse in first place at the half way stage of the Act.
Posted today at 2:55 am
Comanche sets new trans-Atlantic Record - Video of the Finish
High definition video of Comanche crossing the virtual finish line off the Lizard to set a new monohull trans-Atlantic r High definition video of Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s supermaxi, Comanche setting a new, provisional world record for crossing the Atlantic for a monohull, in a manually powered sailing vessel of 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes 25 seconds. The video was recorded on and off the boat as she crossed the virtual finish line off the Lizard, southern England.
Posted today at 1:06 am
Close fight around Wight on Day 6 of Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
20-25 knot winds and glorious sunshine made for one of the most memorable races around the Isle of Wight on record With a win for Eric de Turkheim's A13, Teasing Machine (despite destroying a kite), and a second for Daniel Andrieu's Sun Fast 3200, Cifraline 4, France Blue have leapt ahead in the overall results, now holding a 35.5 lead margin over the second placed Flanders North Sea Team.
Posted on 29 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Azzurra concludes with a win
Azzurra closes PPSW, the third event in the series with a win that feels like a wish for good luck in the events to come Azzurra closes the PPSW in Mallorca, the third event in the series, with a win that feels like a wish for good luck in the events to come. Quantum is the Series’ current leader, followed by Azzurra.
Posted on 29 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Quantum Racing takes the prize
Quantum Racing wrapped up their third regatta title of the season with a race to spare on the Bay of Palma Quantum Racing wrapped up their third regatta title of the season with a race to spare on the Bay of Palma, winning 2016 Puerto Portals Sailing Week, Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec completed a notable comeback after a disappointing ninth at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted on 29 Jul