SAIL’s former editor-in-chief, Peter Nielsen, was recently rescued by a Chinese fishing boat after the catamaran he was crewing aboard struck a whale. According to Nielsen, the boat, One Tree Island, was in the middle of the Pacific, about 2,300 miles from both Panama and Tahiti, when the port hull was holed.
Although the damage, in Nielsen’s words, was “not that substantial,” it proved impossible to plug the cracks either from inside or outside the boat, and the hull soon flooded. Worse yet, while the bridge deck and starboard hull remained dry, the crew soon realized the boat wouldn’t last long if/when the wind and seas picked up again. “With so many tons of water in the weather hull the boat was…taking some big whacks from the seas,” Nielsen reported in a Facebook post.
Six hours after activating the boat’s EPRIB, the crew was taken off by a Chinese fishing boat, aboard which it spent the next four nights. At that point, the crew transferred to the Tonsberg, a RORO ship en route to New Zealand, One Tree Island’s ultimate destination.
To all appearances, Nielsen and the rest of the crew had been having a heck of a passage, and our hearts go out to One Tree Island’s owner, especially. You can bet he and the rest of the crew did everything they could to try and save the vessel before calling for help. At the end of the day, everyone came through the experience unharmed, which is the main thing—although Nielsen says he has now “completely gone off fish."
Reporting courtesy of Adam Cort, editor-in-chief at our sister publication SAIL Magazine.