Prepared Society Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

· Banned
3,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
They had a year's supply of food and water purification. That is what probably saved their lives.

There a few videos in the story. I am wondering if they may be there in our new format. I tried one of the options, so I am curious how this story will look.

Two American women lost at sea for five long months have been rescued after a broken mast and a disabled engine took them thousands of miles off course.

Jennifer Appel, 48, and friend Tasha Fuiava were found by a Taiwanese fishing vessel around 900 miles southeast of Japan, the U.S. Navy said Thursday. A Navy ship based out of Sasebo, Japan, rescued them on Wednesday morning Japan time.

"When I saw the gray boat on the edge of the horizon, my heart leapt because I knew that we were about to be saved," Appel told TODAY. "I honestly believed that we were about to die within the next 24 hours."

Two women and their dogs rescued by Navy after 5 months at sea 2:48
On May 23, the women set off from Oahu bound for Tahiti, about 2,600 miles away, but problems soon arose. First, a piece of the mast called a spreader failed, Appel said, limiting the sailboat's maneuverability, and on May 30 a storm flooded the engine. Communications were also impacted.

Appel and Fuiava described a sense of despair after making daily distress calls for 98 days straight, but the calls were out of range. They spotted other ships that did not or could not respond, and fired at least 10 flares. Twice the ship was attacked by Tiger sharks, they said.

"I could see light and I could see vessels, and once you get closer, we thought it would be close enough to do a [distress] call," Fuiava told TODAY. "When they would turn and keep going, yeah, it was kind of sad."

The women were rescued along with their two dogs, Zeus and Valentine, who had been aboard with them. While the dogs provided an immense source of comfort during the ordeal, at times Appel and Fuiava feared they would tip off sharks circling around their boat.

"I went downstairs with the boys and we basically laid huddled on the floor and I told them not to bark because the sharks could hear us breathing. They could smell us," Appel said.

In this Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 photo, sailors from the USS Ashland approach a sailboat with two Honolulu women and their dogs aboard as they are rescued after being lost at sea for several months while trying to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti. Jonathan Clay / U.S. Navy via AP
On the 99th day of distress calls, a Taiwanese fishing vessel found them, they said. It began towing the sailboat, but by that time Appel said the ship was in such poor condition she estimates it wouldn't have lasted another a day.

The Taiwanese ship's crew contacted the Coast Guard in Guam, and the USS Ashland, an amphibious dock landing ship, sped toward the area and reached the sailboat at around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Japan local time (9:30 p.m. Tuesday ET), the Navy said.

Video released by the Navy showed Appel blowing kisses to an approaching U.S. vessel as the two dogs barked and scampered about.

Dramatic Rescue: Navy Saves Two Americans Lost at Sea for Months 1:22
The journey from Hawaii to Tahiti is a fairly common route that normally takes about a month to complete.

Before departing, the mariners had loaded their boat full of supplies. They had water purifiers and a year's worth of food aboard - mostly dry goods like oatmeal, pasta and rice - and used those to survive, the Navy said.

Sailing experts in Honolulu had advised that for the trip to Tahiti they should pack the boat with as much food as possible in case of emergency, Appel said.

In this Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 photo, USS Ashland sailors help Zeus, one of two dogs who were accompanying two Honolulu women who were rescued after being lost at sea for several months while trying to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti. Jonathan Clay / U.S. Navy via AP
Appel and Fuiava were taken aboard the USS Ashland and will remain until the ship's next port of call, the Navy said. The Navy did not disclose their exact location for security reasons.


When they were found, they were far off course - closer to Japan and more than 5,000 miles away from Tahiti.

"It was incredibly emotional, and it was so satisfying to know the men and women that serve our country would come and assist us - it was actually quite mind blowing and incredibly humbling," Appel said in a conference call from aboard the USS Ashland after their rescue.

"It was very depressing and it was very hopeless, but it's the only thing you can do, so you do what you can with what you have," she added. "You have no other choice."

Jennifer Appel's mother, Marie Appel, said in a phone interview Thursday that she doesn't know when she will be reunited with her daughter, who is from Texas and has been living in Hawaii for about eight years.

"Jennifer's a very strong-willed person, and very curious, and very creative, so consequently when things would break she would try to fix them," Marie Appel said. "And so I was sure that if it was any possibility, she would pull it out, she would make it."

The elder Appel said with a laugh that she would advise her daughter that "four wheels on the solid ground is preferable to sailing," but doesn't think the experience will anchor Jennifer to the land.

"She loved the water, she loved going to Galveston, she's always enjoyed the water," Marie Appel said. "So I doubt that she'll stop, I doubt that she'll stop sailing."

The Navy said the women are upbeat and looking to another adventure, and Jennifer Appel confirmed the experience has not tempered her love of sailing. The sailboat is currently adrift, and the pair hopes that it is found by another ship and can be repaired.

"Well, you gotta die sometime," Appel said. "You may as well be doing something you enjoy when you're doing it

· Registered
11,338 Posts
You people and your unreleastic expectations for people to have common sense and to use it. Maybe they were going nautical Thelma & Louise and then decided to live after all. ;)

What I know about the ocean and sailing could fit inside the mind of Maxine Waters (so basically nothing). But perhaps a boat that size always stores lots of extra food. Although it does seem like one should know how to use the motor and the sails if they are going to go out on an extended voyage. But that's me expecting a modicum of common sense from people again.

· Registered
1,287 Posts
They may be boat owners, but they sure as hell ain't sailors.

Nothing wrong for a short reefed mainsail and they could have run the jib alone and gotten somewhere....

They has a years worth of food. Did they also have a years worth of weed?
I read they had no sailing experience.
Just like muscle cars, just because you can buy one doesn't mean you know how to drive it.
If the local sailing community advised them to take as much food as they could you would think someone would have advised them to stay on land or take reliable communication equipment.
This whole thing looks like BS.
I see a Lifetime movie in the works.

· Registered
91 Posts
This story is the talk of the boating forums. Umm, stocked with food for a year for a 21 day voyage? Both gained weight on this "lost at sea" voyage? Their motor dies on a SAILBOAT, making them stranded at sea? Sailing with no EPIRB?

This is pure BS, and a way to make millions on a book deal.
I was thinking the same thing! I think these were two publicity hounds (not their dogs) looking to make a name for themselves. They had that much food and not a back up plan for communications??? They never saw anyone in shipping lanes where they could have used a flare gun? I don't know anything about sailing in the But, from what I understand the ocean isn't as sparse and empty as many believe. I went on a cruise one time and there was hardly a time that you could look out at the ocean and see absolutely nothing. Although we were in the Caribbean so I guess that may make a difference.

· Banned
352 Posts
As a kid of 25 years old, a friend and myself set sail on his 27' Catalina sailboat for a 7 day tour of many of the islands off the California coastline. We thought of everything, except common sense. On day one, we realized our makeshift freezer made from 80 pounds of dry ice had accumulated sea water in it, melting our ice and spoiling all of our frozen provisions. On one island jaunt, our wind died completely until the sun went down making it necessary to sail at night, through a rocky coastline with no moon to help us navigate. After a few days, we found a cove to relax in and take a much needed bath in the ocean, only to be surrounded by 12-14' great white sharks. We dropped anchor on the back side of Catalina Island, where there are several hundred buffalo roaming around We got charged nearly 1/2 a mile until we hid inside an outhouse.

Bottom line was we made it, and can now laugh at how ill prepared we were but it was one hell of an adventure.

· Banned
3,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This story is all over the Rhodesian Ridgeback groups, because their dogs are RRs. RRs are very active dogs and need lots of exercise.

I spend lots of time with my daughter's RR. They are better if they can run and play for a few hours a day. If they don't get exercise, they are not as much fun to be around. When they do get lots of exercise with respectful treatment, they are as loyal and lovable as any dog you can own.

I can't imagine being cooped up on a boat with those 2 dogs for that long.

· Registered
1,371 Posts
This story is all over the Rhodesian Ridgeback groups, because their dogs are RRs. RRs are very active dogs and need lots of exercise.

I spend lots of time with my daughter's RR. They are better if they can run and play for a few hours a day. If they don't get exercise, they are not as much fun to be around. When they do get lots of exercise with respectful treatment, they are as loyal and lovable as any dog you can own.

I can't imagine being cooped up on a boat with those 2 dogs for that long.
I feel bad for the dogs. They took hunting hounds and stuck them on a boat. Nice people, to bad the sharks didn't eat them...

· Registered
11,338 Posts

Inconsistencies cast doubt on Hawaiian women's harrowing tale of sea survival

HONOLULU - Two Hawaii women who say they were lost at sea on a sailboat for months never activated their emergency beacon, the U.S. Coast Guard said, adding to a growing list of inconsistencies that cast doubt on their harrowing tale of survival.

The women previously told The Associated Press that they had radios, satellite phones, GPS and other emergency gear, but they didn't mention the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, or EPIRB.

A Coast Guard review of the incident and subsequent interviews with the women revealed that they had an EPIRB aboard their boat but never turned it on.

Jennifer Appel, center, raises her arms from bridge way of the USS Ashland Monday, Oct. 30 at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan. At left is Tasha Fuiava, and at right the Ashland's Command Master Chief Gary Wise. The U.S. Navy ship arrived at the American Navy base, five days after it picked up the women and their two dogs from their storm-damaged sailboat, 900 miles southeast of Japan.

Jennifer Appel confirmed in an interview Tuesday that they had the beacon and did not use it. She said that in her experience, it should be used only when you are in imminent physical danger and going to die in the next 24 hours.

"Our hull was solid, we were floating, we had food, we had water, and we had limited maneuverable capacity," Appel said in Japan, where the U.S. Navy took them after they were rescued by a Navy ship. "All those things did not say we are going to die. All that said, it's going to take us a whole lot longer to get where we're going."

In retrospect, though, Appel said there were two times that she would have used it - once when she and Tasha Fuiava were off Hawaii around late June to early July, and a second time off Wake Island on Oct. 1.

"That's a lesson learned for me, because that was the best chance we had in the ocean to get help," Appel said of the Wake Island missed opportunity.

Previously, Appel and Fuiava had said they were close to giving up when the Navy rescued them last week, thousands of miles off course.

The EPIRB communicates with satellites and sends locations to authorities. It's activated when it's submerged in water or turned on manually. The alert signal sends a location to rescuers within minutes.

A retired Coast Guard officer who was responsible for search and rescue operations said that if the women had used the emergency beacon, they would have been found.

"If the thing was operational and it was turned on, a signal should have been received very, very quickly that this vessel was in distress," Phillip R. Johnson said Monday in a telephone interview from Washington state.

Johnson described the device as sturdy and reliable, but added that old and weak batteries could cause a unit not to function.

Appel and Fuiava also said they had six forms of communication that all failed to work.

"There's something wrong there," Johnson said. "I've never heard of all that stuff going out at the same time."

The two women met in late 2016, and within a week of knowing each other decided to take the trip together. Fuiava had never sailed a day in her life. They planned to take 18 days to get to Tahiti, then travel the South Pacific and return to Hawaii in October.

They set off on May 3 along with their two dogs and were rescued by the Navy last week, thousands of miles off course.

Key elements of the women's account are contradicted by authorities, and are not consistent with weather reports or basic geography of the Pacific Ocean. The discrepancies raised questions about whether Appel and her sailing companion, Tasha Fuiava, could have avoided disaster.

On their first day at sea, the two women described running into a fierce storm that tossed their vessel with 60 mph (97 kph) winds and 30-foot (9-meter) seas for three days, but meteorologists say there was no severe weather anywhere along their route during that time.

After leaving "we got into a Force 11 storm, and it lasted for two nights and three days," Appel has said of the storm they encountered off Oahu. In one of the first signs of trouble, she said she lost her cellphone overboard.

"We were empowered to know that we could withstand the forces of nature," Appel said. "The boat could withstand the forces of nature."

But the National Weather Service in Honolulu said no organized storm systems were in or near Hawaii on May 3 or in the days afterward. Archived NASA satellite images confirm there were no tropical storms around Hawaii that day. Appel expressed surprise that there was no record of the storm. She said they received a Coast Guard storm warning while sailing after sunset on May 3.

The pair said they thought about turning back, but the islands of Maui and Lanai didn't have harbors deep enough to accommodate their sailboat. At 50 feet (15 meters) long, the vessel is relatively small, and both islands have harbors that accommodate boats of that size. Plus, the Big Island - the southernmost island in Hawaii - has several places to dock.

Appel, though, said she modified her sailboat, called the Sea Nymph, by adding six tons of fiberglass to the hull to make it thicker and heavier and extend the keel to a depth of 8.5 feet to give the boat greater stability. Similar vessels typically have a keel of 5 to 7 feet, she said. The extra-long keel meant it couldn't get in to nearby harbors.

"Given the constraints of our vessel, we chose the appropriate action," she said.

Still, they pressed on.

Days later, after parts of their mast and rigging failed, they sailed up to another small island, still with a working motor, but decided against trying to land, believing the island was mostly uninhabited with no protected waters.

"It is uninhabited. They only have habitation on the northwest corner and their reef was too shallow for us to cross in order to get into the lagoon," Appel said.

But Christmas Island, part of the island nation of Kiribati, is home to more than 2,000 people and has a port that routinely welcomes huge commercial ships.

"We could probably nurse it down to the next major island in Kiribati," Appel said. "Then we'll be able to stop there and seek safe haven and get up on the mast and fix it."

The island has at least two airfields, and women had flares aboard to alert people on land. Plus, its widest point spans about 30 miles (48 kilometers), a day's hike to safety from even the most remote area.

When asked if the small island would have been a good place to land and repair their sails, Appel said no. "Kiribati, um, one whole half of the island is called shipwreck beach for a reason," she said.

Christmas Island has a place called Bay of Wrecks on its northeast side.

So, instead of stopping for help, they say they set a new destination about 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) away and a few hundred miles beyond their original target of Tahiti. They were headed to the Cook Islands.

"We really did think we could make it to the next spot," Appel said.

Then, they say, another storm killed their engine at the end of May.

The Coast Guard made radio contact with a vessel that identified itself as the Sea Nymph in June near Tahiti, and the captain said they were not in distress and expected to make land the next morning.

More than five months after they departed, they were picked up in the western Pacific about 900 miles (1,448 kilometers) southeast of Japan. The two women and their dogs were all in good health when picked up by the U.S. Navy.
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.