Here is a wonderful story from Cruising World’s Editor’s Log about the very strange voyage of the 31-foot cruising sailboat, Bela Bartok.
Derk Wolmuth was sailing Bela Bartok in last summer’s Singlehanded TransPac race between San Francisco and Kaua’i, Hawaii when he suffered a life-threatening bout of septic shock and couldn’t continue in the race. He deployed his EPIRB and was rescued by a passing ship, bound for California, about 450 miles short of the finish line. Remarkably, he had the presence of mind to lower the main sail, trim the boat’s jib and set wind-vane self-steering to hold a course for Hawaii, so as Derk was carried east on the cargo ship, the Bela Bartok continued sailing south-west.
The Bela Bartok‘s GPS transponder continued to broadcast her position and several sailors in the race decided to organize a rescue. Ronnie Simpson and Ruben Gabriel flew to Maui, hired a local fishing boat intercepted the abandoned boat some 15 miles offshore and sailed her back to Oahu. Thanks to the the quick thinking of her captain and the cooperation and skill of fellow racers Bela Bartokmade it safely home. Derk Wolmuth was treated with antibiotics, recovered and flew to Hawaii to rejoin the Bela Bartok.