Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Transpac Race 2011 - Racers Second Chance rescue kayaker

by Kimball Livingston on 20 Jul 2011
Guy Wilding, in red, with his Transpac friends Twain Newhart
Transpac Race 2011 46th event is a 2,225-mile course from California to Hawaii, San Pedro to Honolulu.

Guy Wilding has been out for a paddle in his 18-foot kayak every day for months, since moving to Honolulu from Sydney, Australia. Today seemed like any other day under the blue skies of the tradewinds until, as luck would have it, his paddle broke. He was dumped into the drink. This wasn't good, but Wilding swam to the kayak and grabbed on. He tried to get in - to rescue, in kayak-speak. Didn't happen. And there he was. Minutes went by. The tide was outbound, carrying him away from the beach, away from the lovely island of Oahu, upwind against the oncoming waves, toward oblivion. Without a paddle, he really couldn't do anything about it. His first thought: 'I'm in trouble.'

An hour went by.

Another hour.

Another.

By hour number four, with the afternoon deepening, you know this was feeling desperate. Guy's wife, Shelley, would surely be worried by now. He really couldn't do anything about that, either.

A sail appeared on the horizon.

As luck would have it, the sail was coming his way. More time went by. The sail was still coming his way. Guy Wilding did what he could to make himself conspicuous, but it is easy in a seaway to be blocked from view by a wave at what could be the critical moment. Would the people on the sailboat be alert? Would they be looking around them at all?

As luck would have it, yes. They were more than alert, they were keen. The boat was a Swan 441, coming in to finish the 2,225-mile Transpacific Yacht Race, Los Angeles to Honolulu. They had been at sea since July 4. Mary Howard, one of nine in the crew, put it well: 'It's a good thing he was wearing red. We were looking for a red buoy.'

The Transpac has been finishing at Diamond Head since the 1906 inaugural. The Diamond Head Buoy is red. Randy Alcorn, an ocean kayaker himself, saw something red, but not a buoy. What he saw was, 'this fellow trying to get into a kayak, and it just wasn't going to work. He was waving. I knew we had a rescue on our hands.'

With Transpac sailors required to practice recovering overboards before they start the race, Philip Sauer's team was ready. They dropped the sails - it takes time - and cranked up the motor, all while keeping one crew member assigned to the job of never taking an eye off the man in the water. The man who was growing steadily more-distant. When the crew was able to turn back, under power, it still seemed like forever before they were able to reach their man. Then they deployed a Life Sling - SOP - and ran a circle around Guy Wilding, which brought the Sling right to him. 'It went by the book,' Mary Howard said. Then the crew was able to haul Wilding aboard, only slightly hypothermic and probably, as he assessed it, not needing medical attention. He would know. As luck would have it, Guy Wilding is the kayak coach of the Sprint National Team that will soon be seeking to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. He's a big, strong athlete and savvy when it comes to the physio side of the game.

With any other rescue, Wilding could have come quietly ashore, as he would have preferred, thanked his rescuers, and enjoyed a tearful reunion with Shelley Wilding, who had missed her husband. She knew he should have returned to his launch point at Hawaii Kai. She had been trying to convince doubting authorities that he must be in danger. But, as luck would have it, Wilding was rescued by a boat racing in a media event, Transpac, the classic race of the Pacific Ocean, and his reunion with Shelley and their young daughter, Kali ,took place in front of the cameras. Their sobs brought home just how 'other' the outcome could have been.

As luck would have it, the boat's name is, Second Chance.

And, as luck would have it, the owners of Second Chance, Phil and Sarah Sauer, are joining the Wildings as new residents of Honolulu.

It's a heck of a way to get to know your neighbors.

And as sure as my name is Kimball Livingston, it was one hell of a hug . . .

Transpac Race 2011 © Twain Newhart
Transpac Race 2011 © Twain Newhart
Transpac Race website
Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Naiad/Oracle SupplierSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

GYC Racing Team trio for Rio 2016
Pre-Olympic Brunch at the GYC clubhouse – members, guests and friends gave a Brazilian farewell to the GYC Racing Team. Pre-Olympic Brunch at the GYC clubhouse – members, guests and friends gave a Brazilian farewell to the GYC Racing Team on their way to the Olympics.
Posted today at 4:27 pm
Countdown to the Rio Olympics—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted today at 4:11 pm
J/111 Garmin World Championship less than a week away
Championship is less than a week away, fourteen teams from seven different countries will be taking part. Forming a truly international fleet, the teams come from Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States of America. Racing on tight Solent courses the fleet will enjoy a five day racing programme and a lively social schedule, organised at the Island Sailing Club in the heart of Cowes.
Posted today at 3:57 pm
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted today at 2:13 pm
America's Cup World Series - Ian Roman's Images from Portsmouth
Ian Roman was in Portsmouth for the America's Cup World Series and provided this first of two galleries from the event Top international photographer, Ian Roman was in Portsmouth for the America's Cup World Series and provided this first of two galleries of the racing across the three days of the regatta.
Posted today at 12:36 pm
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