TRANSATLANTIC ROWER RESCUED OFF SCILLY

A 70-year-old Norwegian man rowing from New York to the Isles of Scilly had to be rescued on Saturday when he was caught in gale force winds. 

Stein Hoff has been attempting to row alone, non-stop with no physical support from Manhattan to St Mary's when 9m high waves damaged his rudder and caused him to lose his oars 900 miles off Land's End.

 

He sent off his distress beacon but as his vessel Fox II was too far from land for a helicopter rescue, coastguards had to request the aid of cargo ships in the area.

 

Bulk carrier Ludolf Oldendorff was eventually able to rescue Hoff after battling for an hour against what the Coastguard described as "extreme weather conditions". The RAF and Irish Air Corps also deployed military aircraft to help locate the boat.

 

'Hoff said that the Fox II rolled about ten times as it was as it was battered by the huge waves. 

 

A supporter called Diana, thought to be his wife, posted an update on Facebook, writing: "I have just spoken to Stein aboard Ludolf Oldendorff!!

 

"He is tired, a bit battered and bruised, a bit disappointed, but very happy to be safe and sound, and looking forward to some proper food! It was lovely to hear his voice after over two months, and I am looking forward to seeing him in a few days...

 

"So that is the end of his Atlantic crossing, he was unlucky to meet such extreme weather, but he has made a heroic attempt and I am very proud of him.

 

"I am very grateful to the 'redningssentral' in Bodø, Norway, the National Maritime Operations Centre in UK and the captain and crew of Ludolf Ordendorf for a fantastic rescue operation. Many thanks to all."

 

Hoff had previously posted: "Been almost as bad as in my worst dreams. Was a bit better just now, but seems to get rougher again. Three of my four oars now broken, one gone completely. Cannot row without oars or rudder. Lots of other breakages after about 10 complete rolls. Some cuts here and there. Been only inside in my tiny cabin, just leaning out occasionally. Almost a knock- down just now!... Again sorry! A dream for me for many years - but not for me, now or ever.."

 

Hoff set off from New York to Scilly on May 15 to commemorate the achievement of Norwegian-Americans Georg Harbo and Gabriel 'Frank' Samuelsen in 1896. 

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