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


Nenad's Lun towed into land 

The Irish fishermen have spotted the boat 
and Irish Coast Guard towed it in. 
It was turned upside down, a hatch was broken, 
and it has been this way for a long time 
as there are sea incrustations growing within the boat. No trace of Nenad. 
Survival time at those temperatures is 
2 hours max... 

Nenad's boat - LUN. More images available here.

Nenad Belic's family and friends mailing list *

A Question To Which There Is No Answer

Richard Jones - Ocean Rower

Let it never be said that there is no answer to the question. There is always an answer. It's just that it lies deep within the individual. But because it takes time on the part of the speaker to explain, as well as patience on the part of the hearer to listen, the real answer is usually never forthcoming. Nenad knew this, and decided early on, as he began his preparation for this once in a life time journey, to give the short, flippant answer, rather than subject the inquirer to ten minutes of personal life philosophy. Others, when asked why they're doing something out of the ordinary, might reply, "Because it's there," "Because I can," "It's a personal challenge." Unfortunately, Nenad's short answer inevitably gave rise to further inquiries.

It's the same analogy as when people ask you, "How are you?" They're not interested in the long answer. The short answer is all people have the patience to listen to, they don't really want to hear about all your aches and pains, or your philosophy for why you're trying to do the unthinkable.

Concept 2, the people who graciously sponsor many of the ocean rowers with their lightweight, carbon fiber oars, made an interesting comment in their publication celebrating 25 years of operation, that relates to Nenad's situation They said, "We are often asked the question, 'What was Concept one?' The short answer is there was no such product. The long answer describes a design philosophy that we try to incorporate in the engineering of our products from the start. It goes like this: The first solution to a problem is seldom the best one. It takes looking at a problem from many directions, coming up with many solutions and throwing out the ones that are mediocre. Not holding on to the first concept will result in a more innovative solution. We hope to follow this path as both our products and our organization evolve."

People want short answers to involved questions, they don't have the patience to listen to drawn out explanations. Nenad discovered this early on, and thus developed his quick, one line come back. Most adventurers do the same. The masses don't comprehend the intense drive that propels certain types of individuals to "push out the envelope."

I did not know Nenad personally, I spoke with him only once when he called me to inquire about the type of safety equipment (electronic devices) I used on my Atlantic crossing.

I knew Peter Bird, and I was absolutely crushed when I received word of his accident. I was no less hurt and pained at the loss of Nenad. He had come so far, and was so close to his destination, so tantalizing close. Jenifer and Dane Clark cautioned him to allow himself to be rescued before the onslaught of the approaching storm. He elected to go on. He trusted in his equipment, he had to, or he never would had attempted the voyage in the first place. Given the same scenario, and set of circumstances, I
would have done the same.

Though I did not meet him personally, I know the type of man Nenad was, and I know why he went, and herein, lies the answer to the question.

He had a dream, and he couldn't let go of it, perhaps better said, it wouldn't let go of him. He was a man who knew how to get things done; his whole life experience prior to having this dream was one of goal setting and follow through. His experiences in life had taught him that he was capable of achieving what he set his mind to. He was a detail man. Nothing escaped his attention. He was a person who had "all his ducks lined up," before the action began. He was a man who was always prepared, there were never loose ends left undone. As time went on, he discovered that he was capable of greater and greater accomplishments, some things panned out, while others didn't, but his failures never deterred him from trying again. He was a visionary man, a man who believed in himself, in his ability to set a goal and accomplish it. He had a wonderful image of himself, an image that allowed him to soar with the Eagles. The self image that he developed essentially said, "There are no limits t o what I can accomplish, I ! dream big dreams." If it hadn't been an voyage across the ocean in a small rowboat, it would have been something else. Why, because Nenad knew there were no limits to his potential, and when a man/woman is possessed with the knowledge that all things are possible to him who believes, there is no stopping such an individual. All you can do is get out of the way, and let them pass through.

There aren't many like Nenad. But the world is a better place for his kind. He has shown the world that ordinary people can dream great dreams, and accomplish them. He can rightfully take his place with the Amelia Ehrharts, the Charles Lindberghs, the Thor Heyerdahls, and the Earnest Shackeltons of this world.

Nenad has momentarily slipped beyond our vision. We shall not see him for awhile, but he lives. Friends and family who knew him intimately can rejoice in his zest for life, and his desire to be all he was capable of being. He is a role model that all can look up to.

Thank you Nenad. We will miss you, but we will see you again.

Richard Jones

November 24, 2001 

To the family and friends of Nenad Belic, 

To say that I am deeply, deeply saddened by Nenad's death is very inadequate. As the builder of the LUN, I had a very special connection with him and to his quest, and I awaited his triumphant phone call as he approached Ireland. 

When he and the LUN disappeared on September 30, I was crestfallen, but held out hope that he and the boat would be found safe and sound. As time passed, I still held out hope that we would experience a miracle at sea. When I received word last weekend that the LUN had been found with no sign of Nenad, I was heartbroken. Only then did I allow myself to begin to grieve. I am very, very, sad. 

* * * 

I want to say a few words to honor Nenad. First, I was always struck by his enthusiasm, his optimism, and his courage. In the brief time I knew him, I only got a taste of his energy. To have experienced more of that must have been an incredible thing. 

I admired the fact that he had a dream a flame that did not flicker burning inside him. And I admired the fact that he was gonna go for it. Many of us don't have such a flame, and if we do, we don't allow it to burn, as he did. 

While I was building LUN, I occasionally had a question regarding a design or construction detail. Often, when I called his office, the receptionist would say something like, I'm sorry, Dr. Belic is with a patient. Can I take a message? When I told her it was Steve Najjar, she would most often say, Oh, hi Steve, you make his day. I'll put you right through. I was in awe, I guess, that in the midst of his work as a cardiologist, in the midst of helping to save patients lives, that my building LUN for him made his day. 

I also want to share the fact that my wife had kidney cancer several years ago. Whenever we spoke on the phone, or when he would visit the shop, he never failed to ask about her health. I knew that he was not asking as an MD, but as a true and caring friend. 

* * * 

He was, indeed, an incredible human being, and a dear friend. I will carry his memory for the rest of my days. 


Steve Najjar 

Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 20:25:44 -0500 

My name is Przemek Twardowski. I am a hematologist-oncologist at the City of Hope Cancer Center near Los Angeles. 

Me and my wife were internal medicine residents rotating through Coulmbus Hospital in Chicago. I was lucky to know dr Belic from 1990 to 1997. He was an amazing teacher and his weekly "EKG rounds" were consistently ranked at the top of educational experiences by Columbus and Northwestern residents. It was a real joy to watch his analytical mind and clinical brilliance in action. I think he liked me and over the years we became quite friendly. 

From 1994-1997 when I became heme-onc fellow I would meet him primarily at the weekly Firm Conference at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Almost every time I would ask him about his boat and the preparations for transatlanic voyage. I read the logbook from one of his Lake Michigan rows. He never sought any special attention to his plans but I new a little bit about the subject having done long kayaking trips and reading a lot about ocean kayaking and rowing. I read the book about Chay Blyth's and John Ridgway's transatlantic crossing in the row boat and that gave me some credibility with dr Belic. It was obvious to me that he was determined to give it a shot. 

After I moved to California I haven't really stayed in touch getting busy with my new job. On September 29 we were coming back from our week-long trip around Northern California driving through San Francisco down the Pacific Coast Highway. We began reminiscing about Chicago and wondering what was happening to Dr. Belic. I thought I remembered that his boat was built in SF area. We were going to get in touch with him after we came back. We had no idea he's been rowing for months and that he was within hours of disappearing. Just a few days after we came back one of our friends called us with the news. 

We want to express our deepest sympathy to his family and friends. We are so saddened by what happened and we are so glad to have met him. 

Przemek & Kasia Twardowski 

Wed, 21 Nov 2001 14:33:15 

To the family and friends of Dr. Belic,

On behalf of the Kilkee Community Inshore Rescue Service, I would like offer you our condolences on you tragic loss. Our Service is in the business of saving lives at sea and we are always very saddened when an accident on the Ocean results in such a tragic loss. The Kilkee Community Inshore Rescue Service (which although is affiliated to the Coastguard, is a voluntary organisation and not part of the Irish Coastguard) also played it's part in the recovery of the LUN. It was the first rescue vessel on the scene and was able to make a preliminary inspection of the LUN before the arrival of the Coastguard. During the journey back to Kilkee, The Kilkee Community Inshore Rescue Boat in conjunction with the divers from the Kilkee Sub Aqua Club was instrumental in resablishing the tow for the Coastguard as it parted on one ocassion at least. The latter part of the recovery was in total darkness, and as the crew members of the Kilkee Community Inshore Rescue Boat have vast local knowledge of the navigational hazards at the entrance to Kilkee Bay, they, after transporting the divers to shore, went back out to sea again to escort the Coastguard boat safely into the bay.

I personally would agree with Mr. Tom Byrne as would many other people living in the locality, that a memorial to Dr. Belic should be ercted in Kilkee. It was a very sad end to the fantastic dream of a man who was determined to make it come true.

Kindest Regards,
Kevin Heenan
Chairman, Kilkee Community Inshore Rescue Service.

Wed, 21 Nov 2001 14:33:15 

herewith some more photos, taken by me, of the Lun after it had been cleaned up. It is in remarkably good nick. I also attach Maps showing location of retrieval site. The two guys are Gerry Concannon (without cap) and Tom Walsh, the two fishermen who spotted the vessel originally last Friday. You will see that someone has placed a single red rose on the vessel 
as a mark of respect. 

Tom Byrne 

All photos   by Tom Byrne.

REPORT from Ireland

Kenneth F.Crutchlow 

On Monday 19th November in response to a request from the Belic family I flew to Shannon Ireland to meet with Terry O'Sullivan Irish Cusoms & Excise officer who also has the position of "the receiver of wrecks". I met Mr. O'Sullivan in his office at Shannon airport and he told me that there was certain paper work that had to be completed before he could release any goods or the boat belong to Dr. Belic. The issues included posting an "official notice" so that if anyone who had a claim had a chance to file such a claim. Mr O, Sullivan was able to identify those that might have a valid claim starting with the crew of the Molly Bawn, then the Killkee divers who inspected the "LUN" at sea the Killkee rescue services, the driver of the 4 wheel drive that towed the "Lun" from the sea and the driver of the truck that took the boat to Kilrush Marina Co Clare. Mr O'Sullivan spent the whole of Monday morning on the phone making appointments so that we together could go to visit as many of those that might have a claim as possible. First together with Dermot McGrath (also Irish Customs) we went to visit John Hehir manager of Kilrush Marina, Mr O'Sullivan introduced me to John who asked that his personal condolences be passed on to the Belic family, he said there would be no claim from the Marina and offered to store the "LUN" (at no charge) until shipping arrangements could be made to ship her back to States. 

Steve Crowther, of "Freudian Sloop" a Solaris 36 saw me soaking up water with a sponge in an attempt I made to empty the "LUN" of water, Steve upon seeing me doing this said "I heard about the tragic loss I would like to volunteer to empty the boat out and give her a wash" I accepted this kind offer, and Steve spent several hours opening every hatch to be sure that all goods that were on the boat could be cataloged. He pumped out all the water and restored all the items ready for shipment, (except for all food stuffs, these items had to be taken away and destroyed as per Irish Agriculture requirements). 

Chis O'Flaheety 
Shannonside Supplies Kilrush 
The customs officers and I went into the office and asked for the manager, a gentleman sitting behind a desk looked quizzically at the 3 of us and asked what he could do to help. Mr. O'Sullivan explained that one of his trucks had been used late Friday night to bring the "LUN" from the seashore to Kilrush Marina, and asked if Shannonside Building supplies would be making a claim, it was obvious from his remarks that Mr O'Faheety had not been told of use of his truck to move the "LUN" he said smiling "thats our drivers for you, they run the place" he then said, "we will make no claim". 

Gerard Concannon and Tom Walsh, owners of the fishing boat Molly Bawn,Carrigaholt Co. Clare 
We 3 drove to the fishing dock to meet the Molly Bawn as she came in after a days fishing. Mr O'Sullivan asked Gerard and Tom if they would making a claim and "Gerard said "absolutely not," after a while I asked Gerard if he would tell me how it came they saw the LUN he said, "It was noon on Friday (17th November)we were fishing for white Pollack,we were close to shore, Tom spotted something in the water we marked the position and went around, we saw about 1 foot sticking out of the water it was a dark colour, and very hard to see, there was no way we could right the boat at sea. I saw the parachute anchor was shot, we towed her for 20mins when the line broke. I radioed the CoastGurard at Kilkee. At 5.00pm the Doolin Rescue CoastGuard came out and they put a line on "LUN" and towed her to shore.he added "The LUN" was on her way back out to sea when we spotted her, had we not seen her when we did I think she would of been lost forever". 

There are still some formalities to be completed before Mr O'Sullivan can release the boat but he did release to me "personal effects" of Dr. Belic's that have been shipped back to the States. 

As a personal comment I can say that everyone I met in Ireland the day I spent there, were most helpful and understanding. They had all heard of the search for Dr, Belic and that Adrian Belic on behalf of the family was searching for his father. The common wish that everyone I met was "may his soul rest in Peace" a sentiment I myself share.

LUN photos

First photo   by Tom Byrne.  The rest of pictures 2001 Ocean Rowing Society. 

Nenad Belic's family and friends mailing list

Dear family and friends of Nenad Belic 

Nenad's boat LUN has been found by Irish fishermens, see for details. Neno himself has not been found. The boat is in a rather good shape, and possessions such as the passport and the wallet have been recovered. Regretably the log book has not been found. 

The family is planning a memorial service 

4PM Dec 16, 2001 at 
Chicago Sinai Congregation, 
15 W Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL 60610-3306 

I have collected some pictures, stories, emails, news items etc. If you would like to contribute, do not hestitate to contact me.

Predrag Cvitanovic' 
School of Physics 
Georgia Institute of Technology 
Atlanta, GA 30332-0430, USA 
+1:404/385-2502 office 
404/385-2506 fax 
404/881-6006 home 
home: 979 Rosedale Rd, Atlanta, GA 30306 

To send a message to Nenad's friends on this list, e-mail to: This list is compiled from Nenad's Roko's and Adraian's emails. I appologize if you should not be on this list. To remove yourself from this list, send message to: with text unsubscribe nenad <your-email-address>

november 17  press articles

november 17  02:00 GMT

Mr Terry O'Sullivan of the Irish Customs holds the official position of "Receiver of wrecks for Clare and Limerick Counties". It was in this capacity that Mr O'Sullivan went to Kilkee to take delivery of ocean rowing boat "LUN" after it was towed in first by the fishing boat Molly Bawn and then by Irish CoastGuard.
Mr. O'Sullivan told ORS this morning "I have removed all of Dr. Belics personal effects from the boat for safekeeping, including his passport, these items are now secure. The boat itself is intact except for some damage to one of the hatches". 

Kenneth F. Crutchlow 
ORS Executuve Director 

Update FRIDAY 16th november

Duty Officer at MRCC Irish CoastGuard Dublin said:

"at 20.32 the ocean rowboat "LUN" was brought ashore in Kilkee (Ireland), the official receiver of wrecks has been informed and is on his way to take official receipt of the boat. It will be up to him what happens to the boat after his inspection"

Irish CoastGuard Information Update 

Rowing boat LUN located off County Clare.                                                                          Dublin 16th November 2001 

The Irish Coast Guard has confirmed that a vessel found floating off the coast of County Clare is that of the misssing rowboat "LUN". The upturned vessel was discovererd by a fishing boat, the Molly Bawn, at 13:49 this afternoon approximatley 6.5 miles south west of Kilkee, a quarter mile offshore at Pouladay Rocks. 

Kilkee Comunity Inshore Rescue Services and the Irish Coast Guard's Doolin Unit are at the scene. A diving inspection of the vessal by Kilkee Sub-Aqua Club has established that there is no body on board. The vessel will now be towed to shore at Kilkee. 

The "LUN" is missing since Sunday evening 30th September last when an EPIRB (electronic position indicating radio beacon) was activated 215 nauticle miles west of Castletownbere in storm force 10 conditions. The rowing boat was manned by solo transatlantic rower Dr. Nenad Belic who had set out his lone voyage from Cape Cod, USA on May 11th last. 

An extensive search of the area by the UK and Irish Coast Guard, the RAF the Irish Aer Corps and private aircraft engagesd by Dr. Belics family failed to locate the vessel 

reprinted with permission of Tom Mc Loughlin 
Press officer Department of the Marine and Natural Resourses