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The sailing world loses two top navigators

After a battle with lymphoma, renowned marine navigator Mark Rudiger died July 17 after an unexpected relapse earlier in the week, according to Latitude 38, a West Coast sailing publication.

Rudiger, 53, and a native of Auburn, Calif., navigated 14 TransPac races, sailing two Singlehanded TransPacs, navigated Paul Cayard’s Volvo 60 EF Language to victory in the 1997-98 Volvo Ocean Race and co-skippered another V-60, Assa Abloy, to second place in the 2001-02 crewed around-the-world race, according to the report. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2004, but after treatment went back to navigating large vessels across the world’s oceans. He was hospitalized a few days before his death.

“With all that, he is one of the most genuine, generous and down-to-earth guys you will ever meet,” said a collective statement from the staff of Latitude 38. “He is one of the best role models this sport has seen — ever.”

Following Rudiger, Thaddeus Jones died in his home in Laguna Beach, Calif., after a struggle with cancer over the course of several years, according to His age was not given in the report. Jones also was an avid ocean racer, competing in numerous Transpacs as well as Mexican and Transatlantic races. He has been quoted as saying in the Transpac DVD produced in 1998 that he has “never been seasick in my life.”

Rudiger leaves behind his wife, Lori, and his son, Zayle. In order to cope with the expenses brought about by Rudiger’s unexpected death, a non-profit emergency fund has been set up by Jim Swartz, owner of the ocean racer Moneypenny that Rudiger regularly navigated. Donations can be made to: Christian Center of Park City, P.O. Box 683480, 1100 Iron Horse Drive, Park City, UT 84060, Attn: Emergency Assistance Fund, for benefit of Mark Rudiger.

— Elizabeth Ellis