They were in an area where Tsunami debris is expected.
Here is a slightly more detailed version of events
from one of the crew:
Transit No More (Transit of Venus lost)
Its not clear from the story whether they had anyone up on deck
watching when they collided with whatever they hit. Without a dodger
and with enough wind
and seas to be going 8-12k, I suspect whoever was on watch was down below.
After deciding that they could only do 3 knots the last 600 miles, they decided to abandon. I think Boatie would still be out there.
I was also interested in hearing that they were averaging under 100 miles per day on the first few days out of Hawaii
when they were on the wind
. Maybe that was less than 100 miles/day distance made good, as 4k seems pretty slow for a 37 ft tri.