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Date: 21 May 2009 09:34:00
Title: Southern Cross Capsizes

Southern Cross Capsizes

7 minutes upside down in the Indian Ocean


At 1.15 this morning, 21st May 2009, a small, ocean rowing boat called Southern Cross capsized nearly 1000 miles from Western Australia.  It remained upside down for a total of 7 minutes. Fisherman in that part of the world have been saying that these are the worst storms they have seen for years.  The two rowers are the youngest to attempt to cross this vast ocean.  Jamie Facer-Childs (21) and James Thysse (22) from Maidenhead and Reading were inside their tiny cabin when a wave came at them sideways and tossed them over.  Fortunately the two had battened down the hatches and were inside the cabin so that the boat was water-tight.  However, the 7 minutes to self right itself was, let us say, anxiety promoting to say the least.  The two boys were desperately hurling themselves against the side of the cabin in an attempt to get the boat to start turning right side up but it seemed that it did not want to move.  After those anxious minutes it began to move.  Still in big swells there has not been an opportunity to carry out a full inspection of the damage done but the good news is that the oars had been carefully stowed and appear to be undamaged.  It may be too early to laugh at this episode but Mother Nature chose her time carefully since one of the boys was in the process of using the bucket for his ablutions.  We need not imagine the rest but suffice to say that they probably have 3 more days waiting for the storm to abate.

Not many people would go along with their imaginary postcard saying “wish you were here” but we certainly take our hat off to these two youngsters who are still the leading the “pairs” race and who are still committed to arriving in Mauritius although the delays are making the possibility of running out of food ever more worrying. 

I am able to write this because their satellite phone is still working.  It is amazing to be able to talk to them and hear how they are calmly dealing with this amazing adventure and all the adversity that is being thrown at them. Good heart, good courage and good luck to them both.

Roy Childs


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