The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records

 


Thursday, August 26, 2004

Another ocean rower saved from the sea

 

Just 12 days after the dramatic rescue of four ocean rowers from the Atlantic another veteran of the 2001 race from Playa San Juan to Barbados has been rescued – this time from mid-Pacaific.
Mick Dawson, who competed with his brother, Steve, in the 2001 challenge race, was 109 days into his solo bid to row about 4,000 from Choshi, Japan, to San Francisco.
The accident happened at 6.10 am on Monday.
His boat, Mrs D’s Viking Spirit, named after the brothers’ mother, mysteriously capsized in calm water, leaving Mick, 39, clinging literally by his fingernails to the upturned 23ft craft.
He scrambled into his life raft, set off an emergency signal and was picked up 12 hours later by a German container ship, the Hanjin Philadelphia.
The US Coastguard sent two Hercules C130s nearly 1,000 miles from Kodiak, Alaska, to coordinate the search at an estimated cost of $US 84,880.

Mick Dawson shortly before his unsuccessful second bid to row the Pacific Ocean.

It was Mick’s second attempt to row the route from Japan to the US following an unsuccessful bid last year.
Speaking to a BBC reporter from his home county of Lincolnshire, he said that, having now lost the boat, he did not expect to try it a third time.
Mick said he had no idea what caused the boat to capsize. He had come through storms throwing up 30ft waves without any difficulty and was in calm waters, feeling confident about the final third of his journey.

 

“No way was it a wave,” Mick told the BBC reporter, from the safety of the 925ft Hanjin Philadelphia, due in at Long Beach, California, tomorrow, Friday. “Literally the boat was just picked up and flipped.”
He doubted that he had been upended by a whale. “I’ve seen about 70 whales on this journey and none of them showed the least interest in me,” he said.
The accident happened after Mick had endured several days of bad weather and was in a downpour on flat seas.In the darkness the boat suddenly flipped and he waited in the almost watertight cabin until daylight before donning a survival suit and clambering into his life raft.
He activated an emergency satellite beacon to provide his position and waited, with flares and emergency food, for rescue.

The huge Philadelphia Hanjin, which came to Mick’s rescue.

Mick said he was “devastated” by his second failure to row the Pacific but said: “I am grateful to all the people involved in my rescue, especially the captain of the container ship. It cannot have been easy to maneouvre such a large vessel alongside my tiny life raft to pick me up.

“A lot of people went through a lot of bother to make sure I’m still here.”
Mick’s major problem now is that he was not able to recover his passport before being rescued and he could face difficulties with US immigration on arrival there.
After the rescue, Kenneth Crutchlow, director of the Ocean Rowing Society, which advises on and records all ocean rowing attempts, said: “We extend our sympathy and congratulations to Mick for having got so far in his attempt.

“Like all the crew of the Pink Lady, he was a seasoned rower, well prepared for his journey, with safety foremost in his mind. Without that, the best efforts of the rescue organisations might have proved in vain.”

 

Brothers Mick, right, and Steve Dawson rowed Playa San Juan, to Barbados in 70 days in 2001.

Second rescue inside a month

THE rescue of Mick Dawson was the second this month of former competitors in rowing races from Tenerife to Barbados.
On Sunday, August 8, Mark Stubbs and Jonathan Gornall were in a team of four whose rowing boat was crushed in two by a freak 60ft wave thrown up in the dying fury of Hurricane Alex in the Atlantic.
Mark competed in the first ocean rowing race, from Los Gigantes to Barbados in 1997 and Jonathan was among the competitors in the second race, this time from Playa San Juan.
The crew aboard the 23ft boat Pink Lady were just 300 miles home and on course to set a speed record from St John’s, Newfoundland.
They were plucked from mountainous seas by a Danish freighter, Scandinavian Reefer, which had been directed to the scene by Falmouth air sea rescue units.

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