When your floating home is broken

Published on January 4th, 2020

A bit of searching on YouTube reveals how the platform is providing a funding stream for sailing adventures. Best known among is Sailing La Vagabonde, but Scuttlebutt received a notice from James Evenson about his channel, Sailing Zingaro. However, his news was less about their programming and more about their recent story of survival at sea:

In December our sailboat tore apart in 25 foot seas off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

We are James and Kimmi, the couple behind the YouTube channel Sailing Zingaro. After traveling over three years and 25,000 miles, we were making our way from Tahiti to Hawaii when tragedy struck. Our catamaran literally ripped in half…

After turning down a helicopter, the Coast Guard escorted our crippled ship 150 miles from the Oahu coast. It’s been a hell of a ride where we literally jumped in the water and tied ropes around our boat to keep it together.

At approximately 2:30am on December 23rd the starboard hull of s/v Zingaro separated from the bridge deck and started tearing away from the boat.

We were approximately 40nm off the South coast of Hawaii’s big island, and over the course of the next two hours we managed to wrap Spectra lines around and take them to the winches, but with the big seas the lines were parting and cutting into the boat.

The Coast Guard was notified at approximately 4:45am, and they offered a helicopter rescue, which we hesitantly declined. The CG cutter Oliver Berry was briefed and scheduled to depart at 1:00pm to assist and possibly transfer us to the boat. Due to sea state, the ETA to cover the 170nm was 10pm-3am.

The order was given to ‘prepare to abandon ship’, and we packed up everything we could (including our water maker) into three bags.

At approximately 9:30pm the cutter arrived (they themselves lost an engine and had many sick crew members from motoring at 23 knots into the huge seas). By that time we were able to start the port engine and motor into the lee of the island, thereby reducing the sea state significantly.
During our scary repair phase, we snapped off the starboard strut and bent the prop shaft 75 degrees, so the starboard engine was lost.

Upon the Oliver Berry’s arrival, it was decided that the sea state was still too high to attempt a tow, and we would continue motoring through the night until it could be reassessed at first light. During the night, the CG transferred 15 gallons of diesel to us via their tender. This was a bit dangerous in itself, with glow sticks tied to the jugs in case they were to fall into the water.

We managed to limp in to the Honokohau fuel dock at the Island of Hawai’i with the CG escort. They were wonderful, and said they were watching our episodes on the way down to us. They told us we were very professional in the way we handled it, and we were actually calming THEM down during our hourly reports over VHF.

Kim and I are proud to say we saved the boat. We worked together like a well-oiled machine, with no time for anything but action. We thought for SURE we would be abandoning Zingaro, so for her to be in the marina safe… I’m very proud. We never called mayday and didn’t pop the EPIRB. We did what we needed to do in a crisis. That said, we learned a fair bit.

We owe most of the success to the USCG. Without them we would have been in a whole lot more trouble. Everything they did was on point and professional. I couldn’t have been more impressed.

Unfortunately the boat is in horrible shape. For more information and updates go to www.svzingaro.com


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