Harken Derm

Record attempt halted by storms

Published on July 3rd, 2014

Fifty-one-year old Robert Suhay departed from Norforlk, VA on June 29, with sights set on sailing a Laser dinghy to break the Guinness Book record for longest distance sailed in a dinghy totally unassisted with no landfall. The record was held by Mexican Olympic Laser sailor Tania Elias Calles, who traveled 300 nautical miles in 2010.

Robert was aiming for 317nm, with his route in the Chesapeake Bay planned to extend from Norfolk to Pooles Island near Chestertown (MD) and back. However, Robert was on the return leg of the trip when his effort was thwarted on July 2. Here is his report…

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed in the outcome. I was just North of the Potomac when I was hit by a large T-cell. I rode that out fine. I even turned the boat over on purpose at one point to reduce the load on the rig. But, as I got underway again, the Coast Guard came alongside and informed me that forecasts predicted a long series of similar cells. They highly recommended not putting myself and them in more danger.

“Despite a deep personal commitment to this quest and a very vivid fresh memory of having beaten so many obstacles up to that point, I still could not disagree with them. I felt it was better to be prudent. The real shame is that I felt very strong, perhaps as strong as at any point in the trip. I was on schedule to cross the Potomac ahead of nightfall and from there would have considered the rest of the trip home turf.

“I will post a full account of the trip here later, sharing stories about raging winds, dead calms, a narrow escape from a barge and a personal battle with mental fatigue. I also want to tell you about some of the gear that got me home including my Magellan eXplorist 510 GPS, the life-saving Clif Blocks and goo shot electrolyte-replacement.” – Robert Suhay 7:43 a.m. on 7/3/2014

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