Please select your home edition
Edition
Helm Events 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

Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Zhik Dinghy 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Aiming for cold to gold for Tassie skiff crew
Jasmine Galbraith and her 29er skiff crew Chloe Fisher sit in fifth coming into the deciding day of SWC Melbourne Final Training on Hobart’s Derwent River in winter when her hands are so cold she can’t feel them is the less glamourous side of the sport for 17 year-old sailor Jasmine Galbraith and her 29er skiff crew Chloe Fisher, who sit in fifth coming into the deciding day of the Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final presented by Land Rover.
Posted today at 3:47 am
Cal 20 Fun Run - Chuck Clay wins and spoils Ives’ shot at sixth win
Chuck Clay, commodore of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, won Cal 20 Fun Run Saturday in this traditional end-of-season regatta Chuck Clay, commodore of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, won this year’s Cal 20 Fun Run Saturday in this traditional end-of-season regatta hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.
Posted today at 3:32 am
Aon Youth Sailing Worlds - Ups and downs. Winners to underdogs
2016 Aon Youth Sailing Worlds will see the return of inaugural girl's 29er winners who are back to defend their title The 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships will see the return of the inaugural girl's 29er winners who are back to defend their title, but they know it won't be easy.
Posted today at 12:43 am
J70 DIYC Winter One 2016-17 – Day 1 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell was on water at J70 DIYC Winter One 2016-17 and provided this gallery of images from Day 1 action. Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at J70 DIYC Winter One 2016-17 and provided this gallery of images from Day 1 action.
Posted today at 12:21 am
World Sailing Cup Final - Live video coverage from Melbourne - Day 2
The Medal Races on Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The Medal Races on Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The deciding races will be streamed live on World Sailing TV on YouTube. Coverage started at midday local time or 0100UTC
Posted on 10 Dec
Vendée Globe – Day 35 – Lost weekend
For Thomson and Armel Le Cléach'h the leaders of the race, Sunday morning should provide some time to regroup mentally For Alex Thomson and Armel Le Cléach'h the leaders of the race, Sunday morning should provide some time to regroup mentally, to snatch some rest, to thoroughly check their boats and to somehow prepare for the next battering.
Posted on 10 Dec
RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 15 – Maverick blasts into Grenada
Infiniti 46, Maverick, skippered by Cotterell crossed the finish line outside Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Infiniti 46, Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell crossed the finish line outside Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada. The British yacht, with radical side foils is provisionally the winner of IRC Canting Keel and currently placed second overall under IRC
Posted on 10 Dec
Full day of competition at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Every class made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the last two days. Finally every class made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the previous two days. Flat seas and sou’west winds struggling at five knots in fact made the going hard for the Invited and Olympic opening session that began at midday.
Posted on 10 Dec
Extreme Sailing Series™ to go down to the wire after penultimate day
The battle for the ESS™ title took a new twist today as Red Bull Sailing Team squeezed in between Alinghi and Oman Air The battle for the Extreme Sailing Series™ title took a new twist today as Red Bull Sailing Team squeezed in between Act 8 leaders Alinghi and overall table toppers Oman Air on the penultimate day of the 2016 season finale in Sydney.
Posted on 10 Dec
All to do on final day of Extreme Sailing Series for Team Oman Air
Points proved elusive for Team Oman Air on the third day of racing in Sydney as the Act 8 leaderboard was rejigged ahead Points proved elusive for Team Oman Air on the third day of racing in Sydney as the Act 8 leaderboard was dramatically rejigged ahead of the crucial final day of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series.
Posted on 10 Dec