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Old May 18th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Default What about this as an amazing coincidence.........

In our news in the United Kingdom.......

Adrift in a ferocious Atlantic storm and near-delirious from going 48 hours without food, yachtsman John Fildes was desperate for a friendly face to come to his aid.

But he could never have imagined his rescuer would turn out to be a neighbour from his home village of Warsash, 4,000 miles away in Hampshire.

Mr Fildes's remarkable adventure began as he was sailing from the Caribbean island of St Maarten to Rhode Island in the U.S.

Without warning, the mast of his trimaran snapped off, leaving the 32-year-old at the mercy of the elements off the coast of Puerto Rico.

He sent out a Mayday signal but was still drifting hopelessly 48 hours later.

But when Alistair Clark, skipper of a 116,000-ton cruise ship, picked up the distress call he immediately started steaming to his aid.

In a tricky manoeuvre the 951ft-long liner Crown Princess squared up next to Mr Fildes's 40ft monohull Dangerous When Wet. A rescue boat was launched and as 18ft waves buffeted both craft, Mr Fildes was helped to safety.

As the two men chatted about the rescue, it soon became clear that Mr Clark, 50, lives just around the corner from Mr Fildes in Warsash on the River Hamble.


As he prepared to return home, Mr Fildes was full of praise for his unlikely rescuers.

"I would like to express my deepest thanks to Captain Clark, the medical team and crew on board for their assistance in my rescue," he said.

"They were the only people to respond to my Mayday and I would say it was an extremely dangerous operation to recover me.

"They responded instantly and came to pick me up but it was an incredibly delicate operation because of the relative sizes of the two vessels and the stormy sea.

"It could have been so easy for my yacht to have been dashed to pieces.

"We were going up and down about six metres because of the waves - it was fabulous work.

"When I got on board Captain Clark said he lived just round the corner from me.

"It is utterly bizarre to be found and picked up by him 4,000 or so miles from home.

"Maybe it was fate in some way. I will certainly be eternally-grateful."

Mr Fildes said that at one point he had given up all hope of being rescued.

"It was a pretty desolate place - there's not a lot out there," he said.

"I had been battling with the stormy conditions and issues with the boat for some time."

As a result of this I could not prepare any food and because I was taken ill I could not keep any food down."

The Crown Princess was only in the area because the stormy weather that scuppered Mr Fildes had forced it to abandon its original plan to sail to Bermuda.

Instead the liner, which carries 3,000 passengers and crew, was heading to Puerto Rico. When it approached the coast it picked up the distress signal.

Captain Clark, who is married with children and one of the cruise industry's most experienced skippers, said: "I was glad to be in a position to lend assistance, especially to someone who lives round the corner.

"It was quite a coincidence and just goes to show what a small world it is."

Mr Fildes sailed Dangerous When Wet in last year's prestigious Route Du Rhum, a solo 3,500-mile race from St Malo in France to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean and had since been chartering it for regattas in the area.

While Mr Fildes was fortunate to emerge from the adventure unscathed, the same sadly cannot be said of his yacht.

A crew member on the Crown Princess said he had seen the craft, worth more than £100,000, sink shortly after the rescue operation.


For sure, somebody up high was watching over him that day....

Regards to all across the pond.
Kimmiegirl
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Old May 18th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Yay!!! What a great story.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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Wow, that is freaky.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 03:02 PM
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Excellent story. I wish I had been aboard to witness the rescue! I was aboard when we picked up some "boaters" from Cuba on one cruise. It was very, very interesting.

Ken
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Old May 18th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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Awesome. I believe coincidences are when God choses to remain anonymous.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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That's quite a story, Maureen! What are the chances of two neighbors meeting in such a weird manner and under such trying circumstances? Someone on high must have been looking out for the gentleman sailor. Thanks for sharing.

Jack 8)
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Old May 18th, 2007, 09:36 PM
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WOW! I sent this to a friend just off the Crown...She loved it!

Jack, nice to see your sweet smile, it's been a while..xoxoxox
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Old May 18th, 2007, 10:12 PM
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What a great story! For a few seconds there though, I thought I was reading a new episode of LOST!

donna
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Old May 19th, 2007, 02:33 AM
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At the beginning of the story they say that the mast snapped on a "trimaran." During the rescue, it was a "monohull." So, which was it?
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Old May 19th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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Hey Marc. The giant waves broke it up, and two hulls sank!

Ken
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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:31 PM
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Thanks, Trip. Reports of my demise have been nothing more than wishful thinking.

Jack 8)
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 06:35 AM
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Default Crown Princess yacht rescue

I have written one article on this http://www.bymnews.com/may/dangerous-when-wet.html and am still researching, as I think there are important lessons here for solo sailors.
If anyone who was on board has pictures, video, or additional information, please PM me.
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 02:13 PM
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Wonderful story.

Jack,

I have missed you too.

Luanne
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 03:49 PM
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Thanks, Luanne. Same here. You're a sweetheart. Let's just say that I'm a CM lurker for now, with occasional input.

Jack 8)
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 09:07 PM
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Sadly Jack, So many have missed out on your friendship and wisdom. Try to participate as much here as you can.
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