Dismasted and rudderless
Jester Azores Challenge solo sailor Alexei Fedoruk has survived a Force 12 storm off Bermuda after spending more than seven weeks at sea and sailing more
than 3,000 miles. He managed to find his way into Newport Harbour after the storm which nearly killed him.
There, the helping hands of Newport’s tight-knit sailing community rallied
to give him new life. His journey to Newport began in June for the start of
the Jester Azores Challenge, a single-handed race from Plymouth, England to
Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel for vessels under 30 feet.
After finishing the race in just over 11 days, seven hours, Alexei, set
out to prepare himself for his next challenge: The 2010 Jester Challenge
from Plymouth to Newport. A sail from the Azores to Bermuda proved to be a
relatively easy one, he recalled. Then, on the morning of July 16, trouble
struck. For over 12 hours, Mr. Fedoruk, a sailing instructor in his home
country of Russia, endured 64-knot winds and F12 conditions.
A 360 degree capsize roll broke his mast in three pieces, split his antenna
and damaged his rudder beyond repair. He spent the next 600 miles riding a
southwest breeze and the Gulf Stream. With no rudder and little more than a
stub left for a mast, he sailed under jury rig, steering with his sail,
until remarkably finding his way to the waters just off of Nantucket. Then,
for five days, he floated. With no wind, he drifted 100 miles in the
Nantucket Shoals, circling aimlessly until a fishing crew happened upon the