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Old 21-03-2020, 10:08   #1
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Cruiser Lost

I received an email on Thursday, March 19, from friends who are sailing their 53' Wharram cat from Rapa Nui to the Gambiers. They said that while they were anchored on the south side of Rapa Nui on the night of March 6, a 20-knot wind filled in and created a lee shore. They could see the anchor light of Solace (I know nothing else about the vessel other than it's a monohull) with Steve Harris aboard, anchored about 250 meters away but then the anchor light went out. My friends tried to call Steve on the radio but got no answer. They then issued a Pan Pan over the VHF and then a Mayday call. The Chilean navy answered the call but said they could not dispatch a vessel as it was too rough. In the morning, there was no sign of Steve Harris or Solace.

My friends were asked to make a statement to the harbor master which they did. Once hearing about this, I did some investigation and learned that the harbor master had been able to reach Steve's family. I grieve for them. I also grieve for my friends who witnessed this tragedy, especially their 9-year old son.

Please consider a moment of silence for a lost sailor.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 22-03-2020, 00:25   #2
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Was there any wreckage on the beach? Could he have just sailed away? Curious as to the rest of the story?

Cheers
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Old 22-03-2020, 01:27   #3
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Evidently, “Solace” is a Doug Peterson Baltic 42, out of San Diego.
Where is Solace (March 6/20): https://share.garmin.com/SteveHarris
About the Crew: https://www.kimkirch.com/sea-tales/the-crew
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Old 22-03-2020, 06:51   #4
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Evidently, “Solace” is a Doug Peterson Baltic 42, out of San Diego.
Where is Solace (March 6/20): https://share.garmin.com/SteveHarris
About the Crew: https://www.kimkirch.com/sea-tales/the-crew
Ouch. When the InReach goes dark it's not a good sign.

Prayers for crew and family.
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Old 22-03-2020, 08:55   #5
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Re: Cruiser Lost

It would be normal for someone to move from the south side of Easter to the main anchorage off Hanga Roa on the north side. Not much of an anchorage there, it is still open ocean with the shallowest spot of sand in something like 65' of water - and you have to know where that area of sand is, it is not very large. Other than one long patch of sand in 200' it is all volcanic rock and coral, very difficult to anchor. It is possible that they were unsuccessful getting a hook there and took off to their next destination. Not many choices - SE toward Chile, NE to Galapagos, W to Pitcairn and then Gambier islands in FP. None are close with Pitcairn closest, just over 1000 nm. Also, very little traffic in any direction. Boat and crew seem solid, I hope they are safe and en route to their next stop.
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Old 22-03-2020, 09:28   #6
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Original report from others onboard a 36' cat was that the vessel capsized at anchor. Now it's just disappeared?
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Old 22-03-2020, 09:30   #7
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Should be some wreckage I would think..? Let's hope he got away...
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Old 22-03-2020, 09:50   #8
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Capsized at anchor with a 20 kt wind?

That doesn’t sound right for any monohull sailboat.

If Solace dragged and ended up on the lee shore, there should be plenty of wreckage, if not most of the hull.
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Old 22-03-2020, 11:19   #9
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyEss View Post
Capsized at anchor with a 20 kt wind?

That doesn’t sound right for any monohull sailboat.

If Solace dragged and ended up on the lee shore, there should be plenty of wreckage, if not most of the hull.
No Epirb ?
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Old 23-03-2020, 17:28   #10
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Steve on Solace was a good friend who we met in Chile and spent many hours with.
His boat was well prepared for offshore and he sailed both ways in the Patagonian channels solo. For those who dont know that area, these feats solo mean he was a superb mariner.
After a brief trip home to visit family and friends he then proceeded solo to Rapa Nui (Easter island) where he realized his lifelong dream of sailing to Easter Island. His trip through the pacific was only getting started when it came to a tragic end on the south end of the island.

His family has been notified.

We received the news the next day while transiting Drygalski Fjord in South Georgia. At the end of the fjord while toasting his life, the sun came out and the mist cleared, forever marking this special place in our hearts where Steve smiled down on us.

Our heats go out to all family and friends who deeply felt his loss.
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Old 24-03-2020, 19:40   #11
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Something not right here... his last Inreach position was on the 4th or maybe the 3rd local time.... according to the link above.... so it don't suddenly stop transmitting when his light disappeared.
Like others have said above... monos don't capsize at anchor in 20 knots...

There is at present ( 0230/ 25th March GMT) a 'pleasure craft' close NE of Pitcairn that has come from the general direction od Rapa Nui but that would be quite a slow passage..
Hoping for a good outcome..
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Old 24-03-2020, 21:29   #12
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Something not right here... his last Inreach position was on the 4th or maybe the 3rd local time.... according to the link above.... so it don't suddenly stop transmitting when his light disappeared.
Like others have said above... monos don't capsize at anchor in 20 knots...

There is at present ( 0230/ 25th March GMT) a 'pleasure craft' close NE of Pitcairn that has come from the general direction od Rapa Nui but that would be quite a slow passage..
Hoping for a good outcome..
Sorry El Pinguino, I know you knew him as well and were hoping for a better outcome but alas, there is no doubt, his boat was destroyed on the south shore.
Im sure lots will want to know what happened but I think in this case we'll never know. Suffice it to say that tragedy can happen at any time so we should all do our best to live life as Steve did and follow our dreams.
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Old 24-03-2020, 22:04   #13
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Re: Cruiser Lost

If you can access it there is a good writeup on Facebook from a boat anchored next to Solace when it was lost. It explains the rational for where they were anchored and the known weather risks. Try searching on FB for Ithaca Cruising Life. Then look down a few posts.
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Old 24-03-2020, 23:58   #14
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Re: Cruiser Lost

Here is the post: https://www.facebook.com/IthacaCruis...07852812840638

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ithaca Cruising Life (Facebook)
Steve , may you rest in peace, what a wonderful person , what a tragedy , the sea has claimed you for her, may she keep you in her warm embrace ...

Steve (on the right) and his boat Sollace was lost over the weekend at Easter island. There was terrible swell and current that eventually overwhelmed his boat at anchor...

Our hearts go out to Steve"s family..

Please read below.

"Unfortunately we do have very sad news for you. Steve died in the night from Thursday to Friday on board "Solace" - 250 m away from us and there was nothing we could do ...
We were all anchored at Vinapu, at the South side of the Island. The northerly storm was no problem, and it was over by Thursday. The wind shifted to the south but was only about 15 kn, maybe 20 kn in squalls. But in the middle of the night a big southerly swell came up (as forecast) and we had 3-5m waves at the anchorage. Until about 1 am it was uncomfortable but not too bad, wind and swell from the same direction. We were all pitching a lot but nothing dangerous. All boats decided to stay but be ready to take to sea if the situation deteriorated. The main reason no one left was that there was still also a big northerly swell running and no other anchorage would have been better. The situation seemed under control. But then a current set in - "Pakia tea" started to turn sideways, up to 90° to the waves and actually drift towards the anchor, against the wind. "Belladonna" was the first who decided to leave the anchorage. We put one engine in reverse to stretch the anchor chain, which worked quite well, and were thinking about our next step.

At this moment I watched the anchor light of "Solace", a big wave hit her right on the beam and knocked her down - that was the last we saw of her, she never got back up. We used a strong torch to try to see more but could not see anything. "Solace" was gone. I called Steve on the radio but no response. Than we issued Pan Pan and Mayday calls but the Navy couldn't send a boat - it was in Hanga Piko and couldn't get out. Also, there probably wouldn't have been anything they could have done to save Steven.
I first thought about dropping a kayak and paddling over to see if I could help. But it would have been very dangerous and also I could not leave Pakia tea in this situation.
About 45 minutes later we also left the anchorage, like everyone else.

Sonja and I were at the harbor master office today and I gave a statement because we were the boat closest to the accident.
By the way, the local boat ("Nanapu"?) broke it's mooring lines around 1 am, drifted along the shore, past us, capsized in the big surf and got smashed on the rocks. There was no one on board. The harbor master showed us pictures of the wreckage on shore, there were a lot of pieces of "Solace" and "Nanapu" has been totally smashed and broken up. They haven't found Steven yet.

We are very very shocked and wanted to let you know this news out of the "first hand" instead of all the rumours that will defenitely start to spread now. We know it is very hard to hear this by email and shocking for the one's making passage like we do but we saw no other option."
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Old 25-03-2020, 00:02   #15
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Re: Cruiser Lost

The Wharram catamaran "Pakia Tea" referred to is this one, a Pahi 53:

Planet Ocean - Segelkatamaran 'Pakia tea' - Segeln, Meeresbiologie und Tauchen - Catamaran

https://www.facebook.com/planet.ocean.at/
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