In case you haven’t heard, Americans Steve Shapiro and Bob Wiese, both 71, have repeatedly attempted to sail a ragged 40-foot wooden boat that Shapiro purchased in Norway across the Atlantic to Maine.
A British rescue crew saved the hapless duo last week — the ninth rescue in a seven-month period.
Here’s a clip of Nora being towed in by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. This was the seventh rescue.
Despite being ridiculed by media on both sides of the Atlantic and castigated by bluewater sailing icon Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (“This is no longer a joke. It’s costing between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds. They need to pack it in or get the hell out of our waters!”), the “Captains Calamity” remain steadfast.
“This is a very simple question and I’ve answered it and people aren’t satisfied with the answer,” an earnest Shapiro told an interviewer on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I bought a boat in Norway. I wanted to take it home to Maine. The only way I could get there would be to sail it. It’s not an adventure. I’m not trying to prove anything. I want to take it home and enjoy my boat.”
Take a look at that clip and note the news team’s reaction at the end.
Still, Knox-Johnston is right, as a litany of blunders makes clear: a damaged prop shaft; a dead battery; running aground multiple times; a failed engine that had the men attempting to “row” the vessel; and lastly a knockdown that caused a fire when a lighted candle tipped over.
James Instance, of Britain’s Falmouth coast guard station, told BBC News that he was not aware of anyone ever being rescued so often in a short space of time.
“The U.K. Coastguard has responded on two occasions over the last three days and three occasions last month, to assist the crew of the Nora,” a spokeswoman for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency told Practical Boat Owner in January.
“The crew were right to call us when they got into trouble — we respond to all calls from those in difficulty. The crew and their vessel were brought to a place of safety near St. Ives.
“However, it is the responsibility of the crew to undertake the necessary repairs to safely prepare them for the next stage of their journey.
“It’s not [the role of] the UK Coastguard, which is an emergency service, to arrange a vessel’s repairs or to move a vessel to a location that’s more convenient for the crew. When crews [go] to sea, they need to take responsibility for the maintenance of their vessels and their own preparations to ensure their safety along [the] route.”