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


The Ocean Rowing Society supports and promotes safety at sea.
Last year the following "Guidelines" were drawn up by a special committee of Ocean Rowing Society (London).
Slava was coordinated by Ocean Rowing Society in accordance with
these guidelines (which he followed).

Kenneth F. Crutchlow, Executive Director of The Ocean Rowing Society 


Diario de Avisos - Monday April 9
A Russian rower who tried to cross the Atlantic Ocean without correct authorization was rescued yesterday some six miles from the southern coast of La Gomera after he sent out a call more than six hours before
being found and picked up by the sea rescue. The rower who was taken from the boat at 3pm yesterday afternoon by helicopter from the sea rescue division in Santa Cruz showed symptoms of exhaustion and was taken to the Reina Sofia airport. The rescue operation was carried out at 10 am by the sea rescue after they received an emergency call from a signal that was picked up from the boat. The boat was similar to a floating raft and did not have the necessary conditions for such a long journey. The boat left Los Gigantes harbour 15 days ago and he did not have the right authorization to carry out such a task.
The rescue of the boat that was also carried out by the sea rescue division took six hours and was finally found six miles off the south coast of la Gomera. The boat was then taken to the Playa Santiago port in La Gomera where it has been impounded until it can be moved.

To The Editor
Diario de Avisos
Santa Cruz Tenerife

Dear Sir

I today received a copy of an article that appeared in your paper today. I would like to take this chance to correct some statements made in the article that are not correct.

You suggest that the Russian rower named Viatcheslav Kavtchenko did not have "proper authorisation" We are at a loss to understand what this means, Mr Kavtchenko had exactly the same authority that most of the previous solo rowers had when they left Los Gigantes. The harbour master there Mr. Juan Depedo was most co-operative and understanding with Mr Kavtchenko we are anxious that Mr Depedo's kindness and understanding he offered to Mr Kavtchenko during his 2 week stay is not be held against Mr. Depido.

If you see our website www.oceanrowing.com you will see Mr. Kavtchenko left 8 days ago not 15 days as your article says.

To say he was "rescued" is not a term I would use, his boat was boarded and he was dragged off of it, he was given no choice in the matter.

At no time yesterday did Mr Kavtchenko asked to rescued. What he did do was to activate a "help" signal on his Argos Beacon, that is a private signal to the Ocean Rowing Society. We according to prearranged plan had either Mr Pedro Ripol of Las Americas to help us or Doug Carroll of La Comera. It was Mr. Carroll we reached first and who was closest to Mr. Kavtchenko and he (Mr. Carroll) was at sea and trying to tell the helicopter that no help was needed. The helicopter refused to answer him on the VHF. Your article says the rescue was at 3,00pn At 11.00 am I sent the following to MRCC and told them no assistance required

The suggestion that the rower "showed signs of exhaustion " is simply not true. Mr. Kavtchenko was in good health and required no medical attention whatsoever he saw no medical person at the airport.

It is true he was taken to Reina Sofia Airport where he was delivered to the Police who were bemused as to why he was brought to them, they released him immediately into the care of the editor of the Western Sun Mr Roger Diss.

Your article says The rescue operation was carried out after an emergency call was made. There never was an emergency call sent by Mr Kavtchenko the only signal he sent was a private signal to me, I am the only one who can legally access this information from the satellite no one else is authorised to receive any signal from the Argos Beacon which is paid for by the Ocean Rowing Society and operated as a joint venture of the American and French governments.

To say the boat "is like a floating raft" is laughable. 24 boats of the exact same design made the journey from Los Gigantes to Barbados in 1997 in fact the very boat Mr Kavtchenko was in came 7th in that race. Just last year American Tori Murden was the first women to row the Atlantic from Los Gigantes to Guadeloupe, and just last week Briton Jim Shekdhar rowed for 294 days across the Pacific in the exact same style boat as the one Mr Kavtchenko was in. Those who carried out this "rescue" operation did so without I single position from the Argos unit being given officially to them, no wonder it took 6 hours to find Mr, when he was just 6 miles from Gomera. If they ever did have a Argos position is was taken without my authority over VHF radio, our representative Mr Carroll was the only person who I was sending positions to. Finally your article says "the boat is impounded" I have just now been given the name of Don Lorenso who I am told is an authority who can help us straighten this situation out. I am prepared to return to Tenerife and enter serious discussion with Don Lorenzo (if he is the appropriate authority). I am confident that if I am given a fair hearing (with my translator) then I can demonstrate that the expedition of Mr K is well funded, well planned and has all the required safety equipment sensibly required for an Atlantic crossing . Already cameras have gone missing from the boat we do expect those storing the boat to keep it in tact until this situation can be resolved.

One good piece of news came this morning Inmarsat Russia called today and said they were sending Mr Kavtchenko a satellite phone, in order that there be no occurrence of the events of yesterday.

Yours Sincerely
Kenneth F Crutchlow
Executive Director

  I was contacted by Steve  Horne and Gail Wadsworth  of "Harbour Lites" in Los Gigantes Marina and asked if Gomera Yacht Services of San Sebastian de la Gomera could help in locating and assisting with Rostov-On-Don. We were about 7 nuatical miles from the location given by Steve Horne when I noticed that the rescue services were already on-site. I contacted the the Coast Radio station who informed me that they did not need assistance as they already rescued the man !! I then decided to go to Playa Santiago where about 10 mins later the Salvamento Maritimo entered with Rostov in tow. Boat"ROSTOV-ON-DON" is now ashore in Playa Santiago island La Gomera Canary Islands If our company can be of any assistance with regard to this matter such as securing the boat, etc., do not hesitate to contact us. Regards Doug Carroll Technical Manager - Gomera Yacht Services S.L. + 34 922 872 216 + 34 686 633 947 E-mail gomera_yachts@yahoo.co.uk , gomerayachtser@terra.es
  ORS takes this chance to thank Doug Carroll, Luis Serna & Miguel Angle Rodriguez of  Gomera Yacht Services of San Sebastian de la Gomera for their prompt and professional help.
London April 8th 4.15pm
We have just spoken to Slava by telephone.
He said "my hatch on my ocean rowboat
Rostov-On-Don would not close properly, I wanted to contact Pedro Ripol who said before I left he would help me if I had a problem . I did not activate my EPIRB . I sent a rearranged signal for help on my Argos beacon, then after a while a helicopter came over me, I waved them away, and went into my cabin.I never wanted any help from them. Then a person came down from the helicopter on a rope,and a rubber boat came alongside me. I tried to row away from them but they kept coming, against my will, they insisted I jump in the water, I asked about my boat and they said it will be in Los Gigantes. I was flown to Reina Sofia airport and on arrival I asked to speak to Roger Diss of the Western Sun. Roger came to pick me up and is now taking me to his home to stay for the night . possible.I feel fit and well and once the hatch is fixed I want to continue my row.
London April 8th 2001

Today at 9.00am Service Argos telephoned Ocean Rowing Society offices in London and told that they had received a signal from the Service Argos Beacon on board ocean row boat Rostov-On-Don.

As per arrangement with Vyatcheslav Kavtchenko if he had a life threatening emergency at sea he would activate his EPIRB, and the rescue services would do their best to rescue him.

On the other hand if Slava needed help, it was arranged that he would activate the "help signal" on his Argos beacon, in which case ORS would contact Pedro Ripol (who is an entrant in the 2001 Atlantic ocean rowing race and Pedro would then assist in any way he could and was authorized by ORS to do whatever was required to reach Slava to offer him assistance.

I sent the following fax to MRCC (and received acknowledgement from Madrid that it was received)

MRCC April 8th 2001

Duty Officer
Re Ocean Rowboat Rostov-On Don
Vyatcheslav Kavtchenko (Slava)
(Russian National)

Today at 9.00 Slava activated his Service Argos Beacon.
By previous arrangement, it was agreed between Ocean Rowing Society and Slava that if he had a life threatening situation he would activate both his EPIRB and his Argos beacon.
I have confirmed with HM Coastguard that Slava did NOT activate his EPIRB, Slava is Not requesting rescue but is requesting us for help, therefore we are arranging privately for assistance to be offered Slava.

Please accept this letter as our confirmation that Slava nor Ocean Rowing Society is asking for any assistance at this time from MRCC.
We thank you for your concern and prompt action in contacting us.
Please refer to our website www.oceanrowing.com for current information re this matter
Yours faithfully

Kenneth F. Crutchlow
Cc HM Coastguard
Service Argos
Ann Barnes
Juan Dopido
Steve Horne

At 2.30pm Steve Horne a friend of Ocean Rowers in Los Gigantes telephoned ORS office in London to say "Slava has been picked up and his boat claimed as salvage".

At 3.35pm The  First Secretary of Russian Embassy in Madrid  Mr. Svetkov was informed that Slava, a Russian National had been boarded and his boat confiscated against his will.

It is now expected that diplomatic efforts will be made in order to return Slava his boat which is owned by the Ocean Rowing Society (London).

updates to follow

Kenneth F. Crutchlow


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