Day 556 [April 11/10] -- Another yacht missing, after failing to make Chilean port

Today's Report
April 11/10 0800 JST

10°02'S, 82°13'W (South Pacific Ocean, 1,896 nm from Valdivia)

Yesterday saw 118 nm of DMG. Weak winds at 2-3 kts lasting about an hour were the main difference, as the usual conditions of the past 2 weeks [winds out of the SSE and SE at 7-12 kts] picked back up again following a brief lull.

Another Yacht Goes Missing

On reading the communications this week at Boatwatch Net, an online service dedicated to finding missing sailors and boats, we were surprised to see that yet another yacht has gone missing off the coast of Chile. That's in addition to Kifu, a ketch carrying Japanese single-hander Keiichi Chinami, missing since March 11.

This one, the British-registered, 13-meter sailboat SS Columbia, with a crew of six, had sailed Jan. 16 from Las Salinas, Ecuador, on a 40-day cruise to round Robinson Crusoe Island, then was expected to arrive in Coquimbo, Chile, about Feb. 24. The 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile on Feb. 27.

Skippered by captain Boguslaw (Bob) Norwid, a Polish-born French citizen, the vessel was heard from by radio the day after it departed Ecuador, and there's been nothing since. Details on Boatwatch Net are available here, under the heading "Current Watches."

An article in the web site of the Montreal Gazette on the boat and its missing crew, including 4 student sailors, can be seen here.

Earlier this week as he left Chilean waters on April 6, Saito-san mentioned that he saw what apparently was a search helicopter, a bright orange aircraft he judged to be well out to sea. He said the closest it came to him was about 2 miles away as it flew a route roughly parallel to the Peruvian and Chilean coastline.

Distance in last 24 hours: 118 nm
Distance completed: 19,431 nm
To Yokohama: 8,868 nm (distance remaining: 31.3%)
Heading: 300
Reported boat speed: 5.0 kt (day's average: 4.9 kt)
Weather: Clear 
Temperature: 25.5° C
Barometer: 1008 hPa (steady)
Wind (from): Favorable 7-11 kt SSE -- expected to stay 11 - 15 kt mostly out of SE, diminishing to 10 SE in 19 hrs
Waves: 1.0 m
Current (from): 0.4 kt ENE
Engine rpms: 1.25 hrs, 1800 rpms
Generator: 8.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 0%, staysail 100%, mainsail 1-pt reef

Position Map (click to enlarge)