Is this not an absurd story?

31 Oct
Ok so can someone please tell me how this happens. How do two women who claim that they have been marooned at sea for five months completely dominate the news while an American entry, well half American, that just won the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race get absolutely no play time?  Their story is everywhere, all over Facebook, all over print media and all over television. The other evening my (soon-to-be) in-laws were asking if I had read about their amazing rescue. Sadly I had and it’s an absurd story. For those who have missed it here are some high points.
Two women, one who supposedly could sail, and the other who had never set foot on a boat, left Hawaii bound for the Tahiti on a 50-foot sailboat by the name of Sea Nymph. They also had two dogs on board. They claim that the first night out they endured Force 11 winds and giant seas but the Hawaii Met Office checked and there were no bad or even mild storms in the area on the day that they departed. Then somehow something happened to their mast and they were unable to raise the sails so instead of attempting to fix whatever was wrong with the mast, or shoring up the mast with halyards they just drifted, aimlessly, for five months, supposedly. The last time I checked Tahiti was almost due south of Hawaii but they were rescued 900 miles off the coast of Japan which, last time I checked, is to the north and west of Hawaii.
The two women claimed that they tried every day to get help but no one answered. They didn’t think to turn on their EPIRB because they thought that it was only for emergencies and that their plight did not amount to an actual emergency. What rubbish logic and what’s the story about how they survived an attack by 50-foot whale sharks. They don’t deserve any more ink so I am going to stop here. Suffice to say is that their story is so full of holes and so full of bad journalism that it should not be on anyone’s media.





Back to my original point. What have we become as a society where it seems that the stupidity of these women and their bogus story can so dominate the media and a story about the American’s on Vestas winning the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race barely gets a mention. It’s no wonder the general public has a dim view of sailing as a sport. Even my (soon-to-be) in laws at 87 years old mentioned that they thought that the news story didn’t quite add up. And furthermore, does anyone even know that one of the most iconic offshore ocean races is due to start this weekend from France? Thirty eight boats will be competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre, France to Salvador in Brazil. Hundreds of thousands of spectators will visit the race village before the fleet sets sail on Saturday. A little to their south – and an hour earlier – the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will depart from Lisbon bound for Cape Town, South Africa. Two major sailing stories and barely any coverage while these two dimwits dominate with their rubbish story. Ok I know I said that I wasn’t going to give them any more ink but they claimed that they were “24 hours from possible death” when they were rescued and that being rescued was the “most exciting” day of their lives. They certainly did not look like they had suffered any hardship and the boat looked perfectly fine. I hope that someone digs deeper into this and gets the real story out before the bloody book deal is done and movie rights sold. And someone please rescue the two dogs before they are subjected to another ordeal at the hands of these idiots.
Portion of the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet

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Brian Hancock – Owner Great Circle Sails

This article was syndicated from Great Circle Sails Blog


  1. arthutr

    I just wonder about the possibility that the boat had more souls on it when it left. That could explain some of this. The certainly are a bit challenged to say the least. Poor dogs.

  2. Jocelyn

    Anybody can clearly see that this boat was grounded in shallow water & listing on her port side for many weeks, maybe months.The dead algae & moss line says it all. Bad sailors & worse liars. Couldn’t they even be bothered to pull the fender on deck, or clean the dead algae within arms length of the toe rail once they were floated? (Would love to see a picture of the starboard side).The skipper’s remark about 24 hrs left ’til doom, could refer to a keel that was wedged in a shallow reef for weeks & loosening from the hull with every tide change. Certainly a broken spreader on the mast did not prevent them from sailing – just would have compromised efficiency on one tack.

  3. Wes

    These two people do not appear they would last five days at sea much less five months, even with the best of circumstances and weather. I suspect others are involved to help them with this hoax. To many obvious discrepancies.

  4. John Marsden

    The whole story is bogus. Why can’t we get more coverage if actual offshore racing? (Maybe the National Enquirer will pick up this story. It belongs there!)

  5. Jesse

    I love that that general public doesn’t care about sail boat racing and I’m getting kind of sick of everyone in the sailing industry complaining about it. The inevitable outcome of public interest in sailing would be more people buying sailboats. Great for the industry but terrible for people that like to sail places. Most places along the U.S. east coast and Carribean are at full saturation. I can’t imagine how miserable it would be if the number of cruisers and charterers doubled. Ever try to get a mooring ball in the BVIs in season? We need less sailors, not more.

  6. Frank Scalfano

    Did anyone notice that in a recently aired episode of THE SIMPSONS, Homer was reading SAIL and dreaming of owning a sailboat? He also called the USCG and let them know that he was going to have to be rescued in the near future. Evidently, the public seems to have this image of blue water sailors as people that get into trouble and have to be rescued all the time. The saga of the two clueless women just cements that impression.

  7. Lawrence Bearse

    Can’t fix stupid – sensationalism sells – the truth remains elusive otherwise the entire event would have been dispatched with the daily effluent where it belongs.

  8. Jeff B

    I was adrift on Lake Michigan once on my Catalina 22. I had probably 2 hours worth of food left and a couple of beers. There were 2 souls on board. Then, the wind picked up again and by some miracle we were able to sail again. Scary for a while, but then turned into a great day of sailing on Lake Michigan. Can I get a book deal now? Id like to upgrade to a bigger boat.

  9. Martin Watson

    Did The US Navy crew think to check down below and see if there were any drugs on board? Might explain a few things….

  10. Donn Hall

    I felt this story seemed to be lacking credibility as well. The only thing that had a possibility of sinking was their story. I appreciate those that made similar comments. By the way Ric Olivera I too sail my Newport 33. I’m 80’and I’ve been sailing since I was 7years old in Newport Harbor Ca. My wife and I sail (not race) every weekend in San Diego.

  11. Hobie Shackford

    Actually the major RI newspaper had a small article about the race on 10/28 listing the RI connections on the crew. In the web version there is a link to the Vestas site.

    Today they had a bigger article about the women with a lot of detail about the conflicting stories and absurd claims of not only the two women but one of their mothers who claimed to have called the Coast Guard to report them missing.

  12. Capt. Peter Watkins

    Very unlikely story, hope we find the real truth behind this bazzar story…..maybe this is what the public likes to see and read…..shame….

  13. Stephen Morgan

    I am perfectly ok with publishing both stories with equal attention. However, the focus of the coverage regarding the alleged rescue should be on what” the hell were they thinking”. Not “oh ain’t it so terrible, how fortunate these two brave seafarers were redcued”. Lets be honest, no signs of madt issues no attempted jury rig no skinny dogs ( must have eaten a whale shark). Give me a break. How about somebody doing a real interview and lets see what they say.

  14. Steve Morgan

    I am perfectly ok with publishing both stories with equal attention. However, the focus of the coverage regarding the alleged rescue should be on what” the hell were they thinking”. Not “oh ain’t it so terrible, how fortunate these two brave seafarers were redcued”. Lets be honest, no signs of madt issues no attempted jury rig no skinny dogs ( must have eaten a whale shark). Give me a break. How about somebody doing a real interview and lets see what they say.

  15. Eric Takakjian

    Best thing that could have happened to those to would for the boat to have sunk and the both of them gone down with it. Two BS assholes

  16. joel weinbaum

    My sentiments exactly! The time at sea for those two was more like a day, no serious sunburn for the captain working topside to right their craft, her crew of dark complexion was neither darker from long exposure, and whether light skinned or dark, anyone in the tropics or even toward the subtropic regions will tan very heavily due to reflected light. Looking at their boat, was more project than “sail” boat, moss along the side as if shipping water for a very long period, and yet upright at the time of rescue. And a year’s supply of food and plenty of water with dogs and two people. Takes a lot of space to provision that much. Hardeehar…!!!

  17. ric olivera

    Ha! “50-foot whale shark attack” ??? Whale sharks feed on plankton. I’m afraid the two ladies and two dogs don’t qualify.

    Now, if anyone is interested in sailboat racing s/he will go to the right place to seek journalistic coverage … many websites, and some newspaper’s sport pages (I’m sure in Rhode Island the VOR got plenty of newspaper ink). I love sailing, and even though I don’t race, I have to admit I watch or read anything about the activity and the sport. But I could not care less about skiing or anything related to the Winter Olympics, for which there is a very large population interested and many hours of TV coverage scheduled. To each his/her own, I guess. I’m not offended by lack of more “mainstream media” coverage of sailing. And I don’t really care if sailing in any form gets more coverage or more people involved. In fact, the less the better … more room for me and my Newport 33 ;)

  18. Ralph E. Ahseln

    A big Second to Rick’s comments. As an 86 year old, 40 year sailor, who has devoted his life to and the teaching of media (Video production), The idea that some high tech, and terribly expensive and exclusive sail race should share or trump a story about a rescue at sea, even if that “rescue” stinks of phony, is laughable.!… . Where has the writer been all these years. His comment …” It’s no wonder the general public has a dim view of sailing as a sport.” is exactly the kind of narrow thinking people who make a living from selling…stuff… to the “Sport”. would say. (hmm? A little self serving ?? I think ,yes ). You can’t Broaden the minds of a public who will never have a personal contact or pride in this so called “Sport”.. The “Yawn” factor will always be there with any activity that excludes the “general public” from participation. Who really cares ? .
    Please , go ahead and write articles for exclusive slick sailing magazines and stop complaining that No one loves you. If you want the general public to love you,
    …….. get CLOSER to them

  19. Edward Newill

    Common everyone!! Give them some credit. They are trying to set the stage for a book, a movie and speaking gigs. Gag! Choke!

  20. Glenn

    I can’t believe that anyone could really be this stupid….I mean and actually somehow function in the world w/o assistance. When I first saw the boat my reaction was – wow. I expected it to be dis-masted, no rudder, and probably taking on water. Nope — jib is furled around the headstay and the main is neatly stacked on the boom — all outward appearances were normal. They said their engine went out. Did they think they could motor to Tahiti? There is more to this but you’re right. It’s just the bizarre nature of it all that somehow captures peoples’ attention. Yacht racing coverage? Sadly, even the America’s Cup received comparatively little coverage in main stream media — it’s just the nature of the beast.

  21. Claudia Dengler

    Thanks for stating so bluntly what I’ve been thinking. Dimwits indeed and why does the mass media care so much about them? So glad no one put themselves at risk to fish these goofballs out of the deep blue sea.

  22. Dave

    Jennifer who? I’ve already forgotten.

    And if the mainstream media (no, not like that) isn’t interested in the VOR, how about the Mini Transat!?

  23. Rick

    I agree that the women’s story is absurd. But to think anyone should about some rich white folk sailboat race is far more absurd. Get gripe. I’m white and own a sailboat and my life’s work has been on the water. My retirement was even at a sailboat racing museum in Bristol RI. But I could not even image carring about any sailboat race. Sorry. Diff strokes for diff folks. I’m pretty sure the media knows hat most others don’t care. Now if there is great footage of a capsize, I’ll watch that with passing interest.

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