One of the members of the fleet of the Volvo Ocean Race, Turn the Tide on Plastic of the British Dee Caffari, had a meeting last Tuesday with a ghost sailboat, without signs of life on board and wandering adrift. Undoubtedly, a disturbing find in the middle of nowhere that recalls the discovery in 2016 of the sailing mummy by a participant ship of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. As on that occasion, the VO65 crew also tried to collect information about the boat. Nothing macabre was found on board, but it was possible to recover one of the most surprising (and suspicious) shipwreck stories of recent times.
The Turn the Tide on Plastic encountered the ghost ship about 360 miles east of the island of Guam in the western Pacific. “We looked through the binoculars, since there was no signal in the AIS software vessel identification system used to locate other ships and avoid collisions and we contacted Race Control of the regatta”, explains Dee Caffari. The crew tried unsuccessfully to contact the vessel through the VHF radio, so the communications crew member, James Blake, sent the drone to inspect and identify the vessel.
From Alicante, the Race Control of the Volvo Ocean Race analyzed the images and confirmed that it was the sailboat Sea Nymph, whose history and that of its two occupants went around the world four months ago. On October 25, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava were rescued along with their two dogs by the USS Ashland of the United States Navy., after a Taiwanese fishing boat discovered them 900 miles from Japan. The sailors had sailed on May 3 from Honolulu (Hawaii) with the intention of reaching Tahiti, but, according to the protagonists, a storm damaged the boat on the first night of the voyage. Since then they were at the mercy of the Pacific Ocean currents. The story caught the attention of the media of half the world, but the story of the shipwrecked was clouded with contradictory versions and many doubts about its authenticity.
“We have to be grateful to have found it during the day, since it could have been a very different story if it had happened at night,” explains the English sailor. “He was floating in our direction without lights or signals, there would have been no way to have seen it,” he says.
On board the Turn the Tide on Plastic, it was debated whether or not to tow the boat to the mainland, but this option was ruled out considering that the race director would not compensate the delicate towing work. “I just hope that we have given the authorities the Sea Nymphs position to be given the possibility of rescuing it or of avoiding a much worse disaster in our oceans,” Dee Caffari emphasizes in the email. “We are asking you not to throw garbage in the oceans and here we have an entire sailboat floating aimlessly!”.