HONOLULU – You probably saw the story, widely picked up by the mainstream media and cut-and-paste sailing rags. Two Hawaiian women supposedly lost at sea for five months in their 50' fiberglass sailboat after trying to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti were "rescued" last week 900 miles off the coast of Japan by a passing ship they waved down.
Your Ed. didn't run with the story last week because (a) it was not about yacht racing, and (b) it sounded like a bunch of BS. Two women and two dogs, apparently in good health, with plenty of food for five months at sea for what otherwise should have been a 17 day sail? Survived a Force 11 storm? NOAA has no record of such a storm in the area at the time. Sharks attacking the boat? Uh huh, a fiberglass boat.
Yeah, right, Gilligan. "If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost. The minnow would be lost!" And fifteen minutes of fame, or in this case infamy.
Yesterday, the Coast Guard announced that the women had an EPIRB in perfectly good working order that they did not activate. According to AP article from earlier today, "The women said they chose not to activate the device because they never feared for their lives."
So three cheers for our longtime friend Dawn Riley, the AC and VOR veteran, fellow Michigander, and now Executive Director of Oakcliff Sailing Center, for going on HLN today and debunking in no uncertain terms this absurd story. Watch Dawn's HLN interview via snappytv.com here (snappytv only works in a browser that is Flash-video enabled – normally not Safari, but should run on Firefox).
Jennifer Appel, right, and Tasha Fuiava sit with their dogs on the deck of the USS ASHLAND Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan. The U.S. Navy ship arrived at the American Navy base five days after it picked up the women and their two dogs from their "storm-damaged" sailboat, 900 miles southeast of Japan. Photo: AP/Koji Ueda.