Hawaii here he comes

It’s very impressive, that’s for sure. But with all the safety features and electronics it’s not quite the same as the nearly miraculous journey of Ed Gillet when he paddled from California to Hawaii in a stock Tofino double kayak using a sextant and calculator for navigation…

Paddling from California to Hawaii
by Ed Gillette


In a former life I was selling small sailboats in NORCAL. People would ask me if they could sail some of the boats to Hawaii. I would tell them absolutely but not with me on it…
Working boat shows was a trip especially around San Francisco…
They use to say you could navigate to the islands by following the contrails of the passenger jets…

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When we were in Hawaii there were plenty of sail boats that came from the mainland. Many had similar stories. They started. The wind and waves started. They returned to Calico and shipped the boat.

Good luck to the paddle.

Here is his tracker, if you want to follow: Live Tracker – CYRIL DERREUMAUX

I suspect he isn’t likely one to find the wind and waves too much to cause him to abandon this trip. he may not have kayaked on a long expedition like this, but he has rowed as part of a 4 man team during the annual rowing race to Hawaii a few years back.

Alas, his trip ended early. From his FB page:

"Yesterday’s day had started well …

"Immobilized under the sea anchor for 3 days to let pass safely a period of strong winds accompanied by a deterioration of the sea state, the conditions aboard my ocean kayak were uncomfortable but within the limits that we had anticipated.

"As predicted by my weather router, the conditions deteriorated progressively to reach winds of 30-35 knots, gusts to 45 knots, for a sea increasingly formed with troughs of 4.5 meters, the waves breaking on the cabin of my kayak with an impressive noise. However, my sea anchor was playing its stabilizing role well and the situation remained manageable.

"This changed unfavorably yesterday at 9 p.m. when my ground crew told me that they had lost the AIS signal for 3 hours. I then notice that my navigation system has lost the GPS signal and couldn’t recover it. As we were working with my team on a solution to this electronic problem, the general behavior of my kayak suddenly changed, which I immediately attributed to a sea anchor damage. In a few moments my kayak was positioned almost parallel to the axis of the waves, and I found myself violently tossed from side to side, along with all the equipment that was stored in the cabin.

"Attempts to get out to more accurately assess the condition of the sea anchor and to resolve the issue were unsuccessful and resulted in water entering my cabin. I didn’t know if I had lost the anchor or if it had collapsed on itself, but it was sure that the recovery line had once again become caught in the rudder. In the weather conditions at the time, and even attached to my lifeline, it was out of the question to take the risk of getting into the water as I had done 2 days before.

"As night had just fallen, it was clear that the situation was not sustainable: Inability to eat, drink, sleep, communicate easily with my team ashore. With my land support crew, we then reported the situation I was in to the US Coast Guard to jointly explore all possible options.

"Being still quite close to land (60nm) and considering the deteriorating weather conditions which could have made a rescue operation more complex and dangerous for all in the days to come, I made the very difficult decision to request an evacuation.

"The Search & Rescue operation was then set up very quickly and I was hoisted up that night around midnight by the US Coast Guard, whom I thank very much for their professionalism and efficiency.

"I am therefore now safe, on land, and we are studying with my support team, on the one hand the solutions for recovering my kayak which is adrift, and on the other hand all the scenarios for the future.

"I would like to thank all those who are passionate about and follow this crossing day by day. I knew from the start that it would be a difficult thing, and I am sure that it was also this commitment that attracted you to my project. All the preparation for this expedition was made under the sign of risk control and safety, and it is also this control that guided my choices last night.

"Great joys arise from our challenges and the ambition we put into them, and when there are great difficulties, it is because the challenge is great!

“Morale is good, I still have my passion for this adventure intact, and I am still determined to make it happen… I won’t give up!!!”

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Good to hear he was brought back safely, along with the rescue crew.

In some ways the difference between Ed Gillette’s minimalist approach and Cyril Derreumaux’s reliance on technology and added gear has a direct bearing on the chance of success. The former has a greater chance of death if things go really bad, but there’s less to go wrong. The latter has a better chance of recovery if things go really bad, but there’s far more to go wrong.

Now he should foot the bill for the rescue.

The Coast Guard hoisted him out of his boat at midnight in these conditions. 70 miles offshore. Simply amazing.

God bless the COAST GUARD

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His boat was recovered. He went out with Tow Boat (or similar service). When they got there, he jumped in the water to free the line from his rudder and then they towed it to Santa Cruz. Reported that some water got into the cockpit and messed up some of the electronics. Before he got the boat back, he said he hoped to attempt another try in a few weeks. Not sure if the needed repairs will slow that.

Supposed to have cost $5k for the tow.