Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

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
Zhik Yachting 660x82Southern Spars - 100upffront 660x82

Related Articles

Supermaxi Scallywag has her first outing on Sydney Harbour
Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Yesterday the boat took it first sail on Sydney Harbour in preparation for this weekend's start of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race
Posted today at 9:29 pm
Extreme Sailing Series– Oman Air sneak early lead despite bump on nose
Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today, with the narrow river, passing traffic, high walls, shifty light winds and strong currents challenging the fleet on the opening day
Posted today at 7:29 pm
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Quantum Racing top of the pops
Quantum Racing stand on the threshold of their third regatta win of the season after sailing to their fourth win today. The Bay of Palma lived up to its one way traffic reputation for most of the time. The risk-reward equation for those pressing for the pin end launch was high. But significantly both of today’s race winners – Quantum Racing and Bronenosec– favoured the lower risk mid line starts where they had a better chance of coming away from the gun at maximum speed by staying clear of the jousting and jostling
Posted today at 6:33 pm
Debriefing the 2015-16 Clipper Round The World Race with Huw Fernie
Sail-World talked with Huw Fernie of Visit Seattle to learn more about a Clipper Round The World Race skipper’s life. Skipper Huw Fernie and his Visit Seattle crew took top honors in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, marking their second podium finish during the 2015/16 Clipper Round The World Race. I recently caught up with Fernie to learn more about Visit Seattle’s success in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, and to learn more about the life of a Clipper Round The World Race skipper.
Posted today at 6:15 pm
Oman Air quick to master light airs on Day 1 of Extreme Sailing Series
Last year’s wild and gusty winds gave way to light simmering airs but the Oman Sail was quick to master the conditions. The compact River Elbe race course, bordered on all sides by cargo containers and all the handling equipment associated with one of the busiest ports in the world, was expected to be tricky for the GC32 fleet even though the race area had been expanded.
Posted today at 5:16 pm
Finale of Clipper Race global series starts in The Netherlands
The 198nm race to London is going to be one of the most nail-biting yet with just six points separating the top teams After a Departure Ceremony from Willemsoord Marina and a Parade of Sail in the presence of Dutch Royal Navy ship ZrMs Luymes, the fleet started the final short sprint to London off the Dutch coast.
Posted today at 3:22 pm
Thousands of spectators expected to welcome home Clipper Race fleet
Hurricane winds, giant waves, freezing conditions, battered boats and tragedy fail to quell fighting spirit of the crew. The tenth edition of the famous biennial race for novice sailors led by professional skippers is regarded as the most challenging on record after the event endured the most extreme conditions it has ever faced in its 20-year history.
Posted today at 1:58 pm
Trans-Atlantic record- Comanche sets new monohull record
Comanche has crossed the virtual finish line off the Lizard, England in her attempt to set two new world sailing records Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's supermaxi Comanche has crossed the virtual finish line off the Lizard, England in her attempt to set two new world sailing records. She finished at 11:45 UTC on Thursday July 28,2016, having left New York on Saturday July 23, 2016.
Posted today at 11:09 am
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - France Blue blasts back
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. A front passed through early morning leaving behind it a lumpy sea, further kicked up by a strong eastbound tide.
Posted today at 6:09 am
52 Super Series - Double bullet Quantum jump clear
Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos to a lead of four points ahead of Azzurra at the 52 Super Series’ Puerto Portals Sailing Week on the Bay of Palma.
Posted today at 5:19 am