SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Vessels Lost, Missing, or in Danger (
-   -   BFS Proponent Rescued at Sea (

camaraderie 10-10-2008 02:52 PM

BFS Proponent Rescued at Sea
This turkey punched his EPIRB and was just picked up.
Here's what he said before he started his passage to Hawaii with NO experience at sea.

"I acknowledge that I am incredibly inexperienced, but I think I can do this. And for some reason, I feel very strongly about doing it single-handed. (At least to Hawaii, anyways) A friend of mine summed it up as "keep the heavy side down, keep the water on the outside, don't run into stuff, and reef early". That's pretty much my plan, to be honest.
My boat is a veteran cruising boat, and I am sure that it is up to the task of crossing oceans, even with me at the helm, alone. I know that I don't truly know what i'm up against, but I am used to identifying and solving problems as they occur, and this is the mindset that I am taking with me. Yes, i'm sure stuff will break. And i'll fix it to the best of my abilities. .... I am not cocky, I do not think this will be an easy trip, given my lack of experience and being alone, but I truly believe that I can do anything that I truly set my mind to. "
The ACTUAL experience is a bit different than the dream.
I hoisted the sails back up and started to get going, but I have no steering. the rudder post is broken. not the linkage, but the post. it is broken. if i turn the wheel, everything works, but you can see it turning on the rudder post. it sheared off. it was old, fatigued metal i guess. i dont know. i am on a boat, 700 miles from land, WITH NO STEERING. there is nothing that i can do. i am going to call mayday and try to get rescued. i am going to be activating my EPIRB with the Unique Identification Number 2DCC56C554FFBFF. notify the coast guard with that number, and let them know it is me. I am at 28*21' N, 129*44' W. No matter which way i turn the rudder, or how hard, I loko over the side, and it's staying same position. dead ahead. boat is just rocking too. fear its going to roll over in these seas, because i am beam on to the ocean. i need rescue. this is the lowest ive ever been. i am activating epirb soon. email me right back. call the coast guard. comm still works, so i can stay in touch and wait for rescue.
i am not prepared to drift and drift through hurricane alley until i hit land. the f*&^* rudder post sheared off. there is nothing that i can do. i almost rolled over. get me rescue asap.

2:25 PDT- tried emailing you but it wouldnt work. i have called for a rescue. there is no turning back now.


I called the coast guard and gave them all the information, however, they were Already in contact with Ronnie. The Hawaii Coast Guard said Ronnie was getting beat up pretty good, but they were talking to him. I am now waiting on a call from the San Diego Coast Guard.


And finally:

Ronnie was picked up about 30 minutes ago by a frieght ship headed to Shanghi, China. He is in good spirits but very shaken. The steering on his vessel was destroyed and he was in 20 to 30 foot seas. The official wind report was 35 to 40 knots with gusts higher. The rescue ship ran into Ron's boat on the first attempt, dismasting and crushing the front of the boat. The second attempt they snatched him with a rope and pulled him up. His leg was injured in the hoist when his solar panels smashed him in between the two vessels. It is not broken, just bruised. He has all video in tact and his laptop, which is wet. He called me from a sat phone aboard the ship and was grateful to have been rescued. He is now heading to China, but the capatain is attempting to re-route to Hawaii. I will keep you posted. The journey is not over, but it has taken a twist. One site said that the trip was no longer "eco" friendly, this may be true, but this is just the first leg!
Yes, there are small obstacles to him continuing, like, no boat, but were working on that...
He said the mast went under water four times, but his boat did not roll. He admits he was not mentally prepared for this and is happy to be alive.
That post was from his brother. Ronnie will be crossing the Pacific to Shanghai!

Full details of the continuing saga are on their blog:
Welcome to the Open Blue Horizon | Open Blue Horizon | His,

The boat was a 1961 Palmer Johnson Bounty II
A full keel model with:
Length 40 feet 10 inches
Water line: 28 feet
Beam: 10 feet 3 inches
Draft: 6 feet
Weight: 22,500 pounds
Ballast: 11,500 pounds
Purchased for $30k.

Read the blog. Compare with Zac Sunderland....nuff said.

ckgreenman 10-10-2008 03:05 PM

Sounds like he needed to watch Alex's Video

camaraderie 10-10-2008 03:10 PM

Here's the current wind/waves in the area he was in. Looks like 20ft seas and 30kt. winds
That's sea height in meters so the small tan area is 6-8 meters or 20-25ft.

Delirious 10-10-2008 03:11 PM


No matter which way i turn the rudder, or how hard, I loko over the side, and it's staying same position. dead ahead.

Well heck, even us sweet-water puddle sailors know when it is immovable "dead ahead" that's the easiest to compensate with sail trim or drogues. It's when it's gone or jambed to one side it gets tough. ;-)

God bless the folks who rescue fools.

ckgreenman 10-10-2008 03:16 PM


Originally Posted by camaraderie (Post 382482)
Here's the current wind/waves in the area he was in. Looks like 20ft seas and 30kt. winds
That's sea height in meters so the small tan area is 6-8 meters or 20-25ft.

Ok so why was he trying this again?

CharlieCobra 10-10-2008 03:20 PM

and what in this unfortunate mess makes him a BFS proponent?

jrd22 10-10-2008 03:21 PM

I'm glad he was rescued, but in a way I'm also glad that he had to be rescued. Crossing oceans in little boats is not a small undertaking and if he had been successful he would have shown his films to a bunch of other young people and spread the belief that all you need is a positive attitude and you can do anything. A 1961 boat should have been disassembled and inspected prior to setting off on a major ocean crossing. I seriously doubt that they dropped the rudder or replaced all the through hulls or replaced the chain plates or a thousand other things that an experienced sailor would know to do, but I could be wrong. Like I said, I'm glad he is OK, and I'm glad he won't be sending the wrong message to thousands of other young dreamers.


camaraderie 10-10-2008 03:39 PM

Here's the latest from his brother:
"Ronnie says the trip is not over, all though the story has changed a slight amount, okay, it is completely different, he still wants to sail around the world. When he gets to Hawaii we plan on scrounging up a sail boat and crew and continuing the journey. There are allot of sites talking trash about how awesome of sailors they are and how much of an idiot Ron is for doing this. I believe he could have stuck it out and suffered much longer, putting him in a much worse situation, but he did what he felt he needed to do to see tomorrow. I don't think any less of him for doing so. He has been through allot in his short life and he had a dream of sailing around the world, sipping a beer and enjoying life. He expected the ocean to be rough, but had no idea. We all make mistakes this was a big one for him. He lost his life savings, all of his possessions, and the boat. This is not an easy lesson to soak up emotionally. If he had thought about only those things he may not have been with us anymore, and for everybody that has read from the beginning and knows Ronnie personally, you can't help but love the guy. This is just another reason why we love him. Who volunteers for the Marine infantry, gets blown up in Iraq, suffers through recovery, has their dad die, tries normal life for two years, has a dream, follows his dream at all costs, prepares for an ocean passage for six months, gets into the ocean, loses their kayak, douses their cabin with gasoline, bilge pump stops working now pumping water out hourly by hand, freshwater contaminated, steering breaks, 20 to 30 foot waves, gets hit by a merchant ship, gets rescued, and is now on their way to China? "
The Situation | Open Blue Horizon | His, Vote, Have, Ronnie,

By the way...I think I found the problem:
"I was going to get a survey with haul-out, but that costs too much money. Besides, from what i’ve seen, every boat constantly breaks anyways, I’ll take my chances on not having a survey."
Wonder how he feels about that now?

CharlieCobra 10-10-2008 03:52 PM

Well, at least he was smart enough to get an EPIRB. All I gotta say is better luck next time.

chucklesR 10-10-2008 03:53 PM

Damn, I want to sail around the world. Send me money and I'll do it as soon as I'm ready.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:55 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome