Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

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

InSunSport - NZT Clewring One DesignZhik Dinghy 660x82

Related Articles

Owners work together on new 52fter project to kick-start SoCal fleet
Manouch Moshayedi owner and skipper of the Bakewell-White 100 Rio100 is behind establishing a 52fter fleet in California The 52fters will be based on the latest design by Judel/Vrolijk. “There are some improvements over the boats in the SuperSeries in the Med that we have made specifically for California sailing, including taller masts, larger mains, larger jibs, larger spinnakers and lighter displacement,” explains Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted today at 9:58 am
Pacific Cup - Riding Rufless across the Pacific
The former Bronco was a well sailed class boat the ridden hard and put away wet. 2016 Pacific Cup - We begin this tale with the fundamental roots. The Melges 32 featured in this story is not a tock Melges 32' by any means. The former Bronco was a well sailed class boat the ridden hard and put away wet. When found a few years ago in a San Diego boat yard, she was in sad shape and in need of a good home.
Posted today at 6:43 am
OK Dinghy World - Danes dominate glamour first day
Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) and Bo Petersen (DEN) shared the spoils on the first day of the 2016 OK Dinghy World Championship Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) and Bo Petersen (DEN) shared the spoils on the first day of the 2016 OK Dinghy World Championship in Quiberon, France after a glamour day on the water with unbroken sunshine and a building sea breeze that topped out at 16-18 knots. An impressive 105 OK Dinghies from 10 nations completed registration.
Posted today at 3:35 am
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Bouncing back on Day 1
Quantum Racing pretty much carried on from where they left off in Sardinia earlier this month, ferociously consistent Quantum Racing pretty much carried on from where they left off in Sardinia earlier this month, ferociously consistent and proving the value of every point gained on each race course. After their ninth and tenth places respectively at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec and Takashi Okura’s Sled both bounced back with a strong opening day to the third regatta of the five
Posted on 25 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Races 1 and 2 images
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races one and two Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races one and two
Posted on 25 Jul
New challenges for Oman Air at halfway stage of Extreme Sailing Series
Race organisers have extended the race area on the River Elbe to cater for the higher speeds of the new foiling GC32s. Race organisers have extended the race area on the River Elbe to cater for the higher speeds of the new foiling GC32s but Oman Air skipper Morgan Larson says avoiding errors will still be the biggest challenge if they are to extend their overall lead with their third Act victory of the season.
Posted on 25 Jul
Rolex Swan Cup – A noble approach to sailing
Mention the Swan Cup to any sailor and the feelings evoked are common – great competition in an enviable environment Mention the Swan Cup to any sailor and the feelings evoked are common – great competition in an enviable environment, a prevailing spirit of fair play and an opportunity to sail yachts renowned for their grace, enduring appeal and rich heritage.
Posted on 25 Jul
Comanche's Trans-Atlantic record attempt hits soft spot
Light air zones threaten record-breaking pace as 100ft yacht charges across mid-Atlantic With 1,548 nautical miles left to sail to the finish of the Transatlantic record (as of 08:30 GMT today) at Lizard Point, UK, Comanche remains on course to break Mari Cha IV’s 2003 record. Stan Honey, Comanche navigator, noted this morning: Chilly here. Set the A-3 Gennaker to go deeper. Very flat water. Smooth sailing. Not much wind down low near the cold water. Visibility 10meters.
Posted on 25 Jul
World of Sailing in review - July 2016 edition - Round the Island Race
World Sailing present their July 2016 video magazine featuring the Round the Island race World Sailing present their July 2016 video magazine featuring the Round the Island race (around the Isle of Wight) and preview several personalities and aspects of the upcoming Rio Olympics
Posted on 25 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – More final day images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from final day Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from final day
Posted on 25 Jul