BREAKING NEWS 2148BST 8 Jun

Shore Support in the UK received a call from MV Last Tycoon at 2118 this evening, with the news that the ship’s Russian crew had recovered Charlie Martell safe and well, following the damage sustained to his boat Blossom during tropical storm Mawar on 7 June.

Charlie spoke briefly to his support team to confirm that he is in good shape and uninjured, following a 36-hour wait since issuing the mayday signal.

Attempts will be made by the crew of Last Tycoon to recover ‘Blossom’, his ocean rowing boat.  The vessel, which was en route from Sakaide to Vancouver, was alerted to Charlie’s situation by the Japan Coastguard and was able to make a minor alteration to its course to effect Charlie’s recovery.

Pacific 2012 wants to thank the Japanese Coastguard for its effective and professional response in co-ordinating Charlie’s rescue, and to Falmouth Coastguard in the UK for its rapid response to the initial EPIRB alert.  We would also like to thank all those who have sent so many encouraging messages during the last 36 hours.

Charlie will arrive in Vancouver in about ten days’ time.  He is hugely grateful to the crew of the MV Last Tycoon for their assistance and professionalism in recovering him and his boat.

Shore Support is tracking Blossom and Charlie.  Our last direct contact with Charlie was yesterday afternoon, when he experienced difficulties with the on-board electrical and communications systems.  We suspect the small amount of water that entered the cabin following the bulkhead accident has interfered with its operation.

The Japanese Coastguard has informed us this morning that when their plane earlier overflew Blossom, they were able to speak to Charlie via VHF. After refuelling, the plane will return to his position and repeat contact.

Rescue is still expected at 0200BST tomorrow morning.

LATEST UPDATE 2204BST 7 JUNE

Still waiting to hear official confirmation but sources in Japan have reported that local news has been carrying news stories about Charlie and Sarah Outen, his British compatriot whose boat Gulliver was also damaged by Mawar.

In particular, the channel has reported that an aircraft reached Charlie’s position at about 1350BST.  This spotter plane is now overflying between Sarah and Charlie.

Latest weather reports provided by Charlie’s weather router and fellow shore support, Tony Humphreys, indicates that the wind speed is now gradually dropping.  It should fall to 30kts by tomorrow morning and by the time we’re expecting assistance to reach Charlie, it will be down to some 15kts.  This should make Charlie’s recovery safer and less difficult.

BREAKING NEWS 1520BST 7 JUNE – MAWAR

At approximately 0900BST Charlie had to issue a distress call to Falmouth Coastguard, following damage sustained to his boat while passing through tropical storm Mawar.  Strong winds and heavy seas led to the repeated capsize of his boat Blossom.  She then pitch-poled, causing structural damage and leaving Charlie no choice but to abort the voyage and call for assistance.

The team’s emergency procedures have been put into action and Shore Support is co-ordinating the rescue attempt with Falmouth and the Japanese Coastguard.

Charlie is unhurt and still on-board Blossom.  The storm has not yet subsided, although it appears to be past its peak and winds are soon expected to drop to more manageable levels.

A fast patrol vessel is on its way to Charlie’s location and is expected to arrive alongside him at approximately 0200hrs on 9 June.

Charlie’s family have been informed of the situation.

LATEST UPDATE 6th June 2201BST

Shore Support’s spoken to Charlie several times today.  Most recently, about two hours ago when the tropical storm was really beginning to hot up – and about now, it should be at its peak.  We’re talking sustained 35 foot waves and the occasional 50-footer.  Yes, really.  Unsurprisingly, Charlie’s not going to try filming in this weather; he’s strapped well into his cabin and bearing up well.  Earlier today, before he had to pack away most of the comms kit, he sent the following blog back to Blighty:

 

Transit of Venus

Charlie had this view all to himself, from the mid-Pacific

Wow wow wow… what a day. I work early (Blossom doesn’t have curtains, so when dawn breaks, Blossom and I wake up too) had breakfast and was on the oars at 0430 hours local time (UTC + 9 hours). I received an email several days ago from David Spooner, one of my former school teachers and Leading Firefighter, from when I was a firefighter at Station N39, part-time volunteer. Mr. Spooner informed me of the Transit of Venus and that it would take place on 6th June. I was completely ignorant to this until I was informed. It’s not been an easy day rowing, wind and waves giving me an uneasy ride, but the current has helped and I have pushed North with a hint of East. Whilst I was rowing along, and thought it’s the 6th June today and I remembered Mr. Spooner’s email and looked up at the sun… At approximately 0800 local (2300 UTC) there was a huge blue grey circle, tinged at the edge with gold, around the sun. Quite amazing and the photo I took has come out fairly well, considering I couldn’t look directly at the sun. So, thank you so much Mr. Spooner for sharing your knowledge, an amazing site to witness.

The attached pic was taken at 38 29.255’ N, 153 23.525’ E.

ps the small dot to the right of the sun is a water droplet on camera lens!

JUBILEE SPECIAL – UPDATED JUNE 3 1039BST

Received from the Pacific Ocean this morning, to coincide with today’s Jubilee River Pageant in London, here’s Charlie’s Pacific Ocean pageant:

LATEST UPDATE 2nd June 2157BST


After a rather warm and uncomfortable night, I was looking forward to getting on the oars again, after a breakfast of porridge and sultanas. The wind was, as expected, blowing from the North and the plan was that I would try to hold a course of 060 degrees and if that become too hard, to slip down to 090 degrees. Soon after setting off, I realised it was going to be a tough day, every stroke was hard and the distance earned was meagre. After about 45 minutes, across the port side, I saw a flying fish – wow, they really can fly! I wasn’t too impressed with the landing though… it seemed to bounce from one wave crest to the next, rather like a skimming stone! A further 45 minutes and I realised I had only completed a single mile, but had put loads of effort it. I stopped for water and within those few seconds, I was being pushed west, rapidly… not south. I took the decision to deploy the para-anchor and to wait for the wind to die down and for the waves to die down, in the hope that I could take to the oars again a bit later… I went back to the oars a few hours later, but even less headway was being made… para-anchor it is then until further notice…

If you’ve not yet seen the ‘dancing dolphins’, check out the video blog from May 31st:

LATEST UPDATE 1 June 1314BST

Lt Charlie Martell has recorded the following message for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee:

And here’s today’s blog:

So, it was an early start this morning, woken by the petrels (whom I suspect may have been kipping on deck!). As I came out of my cabin, I noticed the morning to be still… not a noise in the air. The ocean calm, not flat calm, but almost. I heard a splash and just a few hundred metres away from the stern of Blossom I saw a couple of dolphins leaping out of the water silently, only to splash back down… they did this several times before making their way away from me. A great start to the day.

Porridge (again!) for brekkers, then I was on the oars for 0500. I’m fairly happy with the progress made today, it’s not been really tough, but certainly not easy either. As I came towards the end of rowing, the dolphins made another appearance, but didn’t hang around for more than a few minutes… not more than ten minutes later, I spotted a flying fish, just the one and it looked like a giant dragonfly as it seemed to effortlessly cruise through the air, before submerging again!

Today not only marks the 1st day of June, but also the end of week 4 for Blossom and I. As we start week 5 tomorrow, I will be thinking of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Have a great weekend!

Cheers, Charlie

LATEST UPDATE 31st May 1747BST

Flying Fish

It can't be a footprint...so is it a fishprint?

After having a hearty breakfast of porridge with strawberries, followed by a coffee and a bit of boat admin, I pulled in the para-anchor just before 1000hrs local. At 1000hrs, I was underway and heading North. I had rowed for about 2 miles, when I was treated to another dolphin show, this one being the most spectacular so far. I’m assuming they enjoyed the music I was playing! As quickly as they had arrived and performed for me, they were gone again, leaving me to push on North and then North East. It hasn’t been hard rowing, but certainly not easy. The sea has been inky and gently rolling, allowing me at times to make good progress and at times it has been slow going. It’s not been a day of huge mileage so far (not finished yet), but am making progress in the right direction.

I noted earlier a blue print on the back of my satellite dome, on the bow of Blossom. I can only imagine that the colour and shape belong to a flying fish. I didn’t find one on deck this morning, so I hope it managed to keep on going…

 

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