SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the kayaker who was attempting to make a solo voyage to Hawaii early Sunday morning about 70 miles west of Santa Cruz.
Cyril Derreumaux, a Bay Area adventurer and Guinness World Record holder, departed from Travis Marina near the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito around 5 a.m. May 31 with the goal of reaching Honolulu within 70 days.
On Sunday evening, he was resting at his Marin home, planning to return to search for his drifting kayak.
“I’m feeling a bit disappointed, and disoriented. Everything the last two years has been about those next 70 days and now that I have to change the plans, it’s just a bit disorienting,” said Derreumaux.
He said the first two days on the water were pleasant, but then he encountered rough conditions and equipment failure.
“My boat what it does is it went parallel to the waves and was pounded and pounding every three minutes with big waves and there was a risk of capsize,” he said. “And it just makes it unsustainable in a small kayak like this where my food is everywhere, I can’t sleep.”
He said he is appreciative of his supporters who have been following his journey.
“Thank you so much for all the passion, for following me, for following that dream, it’s not dead. I’m going to make it happen, I had an equipment failure, I did not have a dream failure.”
If conditions are right, he is considering starting a new journey within a month. Beyond that, he would run into hurricane season. Otherwise Derreumaux is also looking at other oceans like the Atlantic.
But first he plans to get his kayak back on Monday – it is still drifting out at sea.
His focus quickly turned from reaching Hawaii to survival and rescue on Saturday.
Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders responded to Derreumaux’s request for rescue because of heavy weather, officials said.
On his Facebook page, Derreumaux wrote that ocean conditions on Saturday evening were rough, but manageable; however, that all changed around 9 p.m. “when my ground crew told me that they had lost the AIS signal for 3 hours. I then [noticed] that my navigation system has lost the GPS signal and couldn’t recover it.”
— USCGPacificSouthwest (@USCGPacificSW) June 6, 2021
As Derreumaux and his ground crew worked on the electronic issues, he became aware of trouble with his kayak.
“In a few moments my kayak was positioned almost parallel to the axis of the waves, and I found myself violently tossed from side to side, along with all the equipment that was stored in the cabin,” he wrote. “Attempts to get out to more accurately assess the condition of the sea anchor and to resolve the issue were unsuccessful and resulted in water entering my cabin.”
Derreumaux said he then had to make the difficult decision to request evacuation.
“As night had just fallen, it was clear that the situation was not sustainable: Inability to eat, drink, sleep, communicate easily with my team ashore,” he wrote. “With my land support crew, we then reported the situation I was in to the U.S. Coast Guard to jointly explore all possible options.”
The Coast Guard launched its MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew at 10:25 p.m., Coast Guard officials said. The crew arrived on scene at 12:39 a.m. Sunday, which is when they hoisted the kayaker into the helicopter and returned to Air Station San Francisco.
“Recognizing that the situation was beyond his capabilities and calling for assistance allowed our crews to reach him in time for a successful rescue,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll, a Coast Guard spokesperson. “This shows that even experienced mariners with proper safety equipment can get into trouble on the ocean, which is why having the right equipment and knowing when and how to use it is so important.”
Derreumaux was found to be in good condition with no medical concerns.
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