Blog post from Sonya’s Team — June 14, 2015

Our Attempt Has Ended Safely.
Posted by Andrew

You might have noticed on the tracker that we are heading back to Japan. The past eight days have been interesting and we knew we were taking a chance with the weather and late season, concerned more about the weather upon arrival in California in the fall.

sonya-1After long conversations, losing a drogue, a critical steering system failure, and battling headwinds and typhoons, Sonya made the decision to abandon this year’s attempt. While we were only eight days in, the progress against wind and storms was slow and the next few weeks promised more storms and potentially even slower progress. Furthermore, she was receiving constant AIS alarms which given the weather conditions so far made it impossible to see the many vessels near her.

On top of the data, Sonya and some team members felt that things weren’t going right. While we couldn’t put our finger on it, something felt wrong. Our expedition experience has taught us that when that feeling doesn’t go away, you pay attention. As we prepared to leave normal Coast Guard range, that feeling only got stronger. As a team, we felt that combined with incoming weather, losing a piece of critical equipment with a a single backup, it would be irresponsible to continue. Perhaps more importantly, none of us could justify putting responder’s lives at risk by pushing further.

The Japanese Coast Guard was in the area and they were able to pick up Sonya and tow the boat safely back to Japan. They are underway now, and we are eternally grateful for their hospitality and assistance.

At this time, our team is working as fast as possible responding to the many messages and media inquiries as well as coordinating the repatriation of the Icha into Japan and getting everything back to the US for now. Sonya hasn’t made a decision yet on when or if she’ll attempt again.

Over the past several months, we have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received. I sincerely thank you for all of the well wishes, concerns, and inquires. We’ll continue answering the hundreds of inquiries as fast as we can as soon as we all get a little sleep.

Sincerely,

Andrew