Stronger together than apart

Published on January 6th, 2019

Doug Smith and his good friend Hiro Iwamoto are planning to sail across the Pacific non-stop, leaving February 24 on Dream Weaver, a 41 foot Island Packet. But only one of them can see and only one of them has experience to tackle the route from San Diego to Fukushima, Japan.

Smith, an Ocean Cruising Club Associate Member and novice sailor, will be using the trip as his qualifying ocean voyage for Full Membership in the Ocean Cruising Club. As for Iwamoto, this is not his first rodeo.

Back in 2013, he and another crewmate sailed out of Japan-bound for San Diego, California. Unfortunately, six days into the voyage their 6-ton yacht was taking on water in really rough seas due to an unscheduled tussle with a blue whale and an unexpected typhoon 700 nautical miles from land.

After radioing in a distress call, the two crewmen were forced to abandon ship into their covered rubber raft where they endured 15 foot waves and 30 knot winds. With fierce sea conditions, amphibious aircraft were unable to rescue them for eleven hours. Despite this experience, Iwamoto remains determined to inspire others to overcome adversity and work to achieve their dreams.

“We undertake this voyage not only for personal accomplishment, but to send a message that anything is possible when people come together,” said Iwamoto. “In this case, a blind (but experienced) sailor and a novice (but sighted) sailor, will each compensate for the other’s weaknesses. This is about taking action and making a difference, the same theme connecting the causes we wish to support including preventable and curable blindness.”

For more details on their effort and cause:

Source: OCC

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