Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 728x90

When sailors turn rescuers - a 'second chance' for kayaker

by Kimball Livingston on 26 Jul 2011
Second Chance crew and Guy Wilding in red .. .
The yacht was called 'Second Chance' but it was a second chance at life they gave to the drifting kayaker last week. 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 when he hit an underwater object.

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.

Guy has a tearful reunion with his wife and daughter Kali © Twain Newhart
Guy has a tearful reunion with his wife and daughter Kali © Twain Newhart
Transpac Race website
Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Zhik Dinghy 660x82T Clewring J-class

Related Articles

Volvo Ocean Race - Enright and Towill ready to go again in 2017/18
Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put their experience to use. Team Alvimedica were the youngest team in the race last edition, and now skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put that experience to use. Volvo Ocean race's Jonno Turner caught up with Mark and Charlie to chat about everything from the transition back into 'real life', their reflections on the 2014-15 campaign - and the future.
Posted today at 9:57 am
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA's AC50 well underway in Warkworth
Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand, Core Builders Composites, Warkworth, 40 minutes north of Auckland. The major components for the 15-meter platform, including the hulls and cross beams, have now been built.
Posted on 28 Aug
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA play catch up with Softbank Team Japan
Back in April 2017, Softbank Team Japan mastered the foiling tack in their AC45 Surrogate boats Back in April 2017, Softbank Team Japan mastered the foiling tack in their AC45 Surrogate boats, claiming to be the first AC team to have achieved the move. Two days later Oracle Team USA claimed to have done the same.
Posted on 28 Aug
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted on 27 Aug
SoftBank Team Japan achieve first foiling tack
SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 boat SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked the foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda.
Posted on 26 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
America's Cup - Architect of NZ Qualifier withdrawal steps down
The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role and will finish at the end of the month. The move was confirmed today by America's Cup correspondent Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press.
Posted on 23 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
PredictWind - One stop shop
PredictWind have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software PredictWind the world leader in forecasting believe that more is better, and have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Fresher breezes expected inside and outside on Day 3
Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Two of the fleet scheduled to race outside on the Atlantic Ocean course off Copacabana Beach, while the 470 Men and Women will race inside on Guananara Bay.
Posted on 10 Aug