Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
Thanked 124 Times in 112 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Re: Guo Chuan
I can fill in a little bit about this tragedy from information that my wife has gotten from Chinese media and in particular the Chinese sailing community. Guo Chuan is ('was' unfortunately it seems) by far the most experienced Chinese sailor. He sailed around the world solo on an Open 40 and has done a variety of offshore races including the Clipper Race. The boat he had for this Transpacific record attempt was a French 93' trimaran racing machine. He had sailed this boat a lot including doing the Northeast Passage (crewed). Overall he had tens of thousands of miles on this boat.
The record he was going after (SF to Shanghai) had been set by a fully-crewed boat. No one seemed to know why he decided to go after the record singlehanded. The idea of sailing a 93 foot racing trimaran alone is more than intimidating to me.
He was in constant contact with his shore support including half an hour before the boat's speed dramatically dropped off on the shore party's GPS plot. In his last shore contact he was fine and said he was going to take down his asymmetric (imagine how big that sucker would be on a 93') for the night since the winds were around 20 knots and increasing. Waves were 5 to 6 feet so conditions were ideal for record setting. He may have been overtired from pushing the boat in these conditions. The max speed he had achieved was 34 knots.
The story posted here said it was the mainsail in the water, it actually was the assym. The Coast Guard went aboard to confirm that he was not onboard. The coasties reefed the mainsail and left the boat heading west. There is a very valuable vessel out there to be salvaged by someone.
His loss has been an enormous shock to the Chinese sailing community since he was the only real world-class (non-Olympic style) sailor in the country so was a major inspirational figure. It occurred to me that my wife, although a Canadian citizen, might now be the most experienced Chinese cruiser. For the last few years she has been a celebrity in the small, but very rich, Chinese sailing community.
After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.