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
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
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
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.