Sunday, November 24, 2013
Easy Go Lost
Easy Go was lost on November 5, 2013 while on our way to the Caribbean directly from Cape Breton Island. This is a mid ocean route crossing the Gulf Stream around 60 degrees west. We found ourselves in very strong storm conditions in an area of the Gulf Stream with strong current some 700 miles off of Cape Cod. We were unable to work our way out of the complex conditions presented by wind over current after 5 days while steadily being driven east. We normally try to get across the Gulf Stream in less than one day. We left with a favorable weather forecast but found ourselves in trouble with many miles to go. Early winter brings on changeable conditions that make this particular passage challenging, even for those of us who have done it a number of times.
Easy Go performed well in beating to windward in 45 knots of wind for four days with the wind aligning with the current favorably. While rough Easy Go persisted. I was unable to cook or rest adequately in these conditions. When the wind shifted to NE and increased the situation became overwhelming with wind over current. The current in this area was running in excess of 3 knots. A series of small equipment failures (sails, electronics and water ingress), that in lesser conditions could have been rectified relatively simply, could not be addressed. My own fatigue and deteriorating condition was a major contributing factor. Making the decision to call for assistance while still afloat and with the energy to save myself was not easy but was necessary. I felt conditions would deteriorate further and this proved to be the case over the next few days with continuous gale to storm force winds followed quickly by Tropical Storm Melissa.
I put out a Mayday via SPOT. AMVER, via the US Coastguard arranged for two ships, Bishu Highway and Athina L to attempt a rescue. After waiting for conditions to improve we decided to abandon ship, in consultation with Athina L, in 6 meter waves and 40 knots of wind in the dark. More info about the rescue will be available at a later date.
Athina L took me to her next port of call in Hunterston, Scotland where I spent time recovering from injuries with the assistance of friends from the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC). I have since returned home to River Bourgeois, Cape Breton where I continue to recover. I mourn the loss of Easy Go. She took great care of me for a lot of ocean miles as did her predecessor the first Easy Go. There was no insurance so the next Easy Go will take some time to come to be. Lost everything but my life; the adventure continues.
In this article the "We" referred to is myself and Easy Go. I was sailing single handed. No lives were lost.