COURTESY U.S. COAST GUARD
The sloop Chaton de Foi was towed to Milolii*
yesterday after being abandoned Dec. 2.
Crewless boat reaches Big Island after 6-month drift
The crew abandoned it off Costa Rica after engine trouble
HILO » After drifting 4,800 miles since it was abandoned off Central America on Dec. 2, the 33-foot sloop Chaton de Foi is safely moored in Big Island waters today.
Its foresail torn to shreds, its partly furled mainsail slumped on deck, but otherwise appearing to be in good condition, the single-masted ship with seabirds perched on it was discovered by fishermen a short distance offshore from Milolii, South Kona, on Monday, the Hawaii County Fire Department said.
"No souls on board," a department statement said.
The Coast Guard identified the owner as William Tepper or Temper of Southern California. Painted on the sloop's stern are the words "Channel Islands, CA."
The owner was off the coast of Costa Rica when he developed engine trouble and then was beset by rough weather on Dec. 2, said spokeswoman Marsha Delaney. A "good Samaritan" in another vessel picked the owner up from the stricken sloop, and it was left to drift.
The sailboat was seen one other time off the coast of Mexico before currents carried it across the Pacific, Delaney said.
After the discovery off Milolii, two fire rescue men boarded the vessel from a department helicopter, the Fire Department said. The Coast also sent an H65 Dolphin helicopter to the site from the location in Hilo where it was temporarily posted.
The owner was contacted and the boat was towed to a safe mooring spot, the Coast Guard said, although the exact location was unclear.
Thursday, June 8, 2006
» A 33-foot sloop adrift since Dec. 2 and found off the Big Island was towed to Milolii and is owned by Walter J. Teper of Southern California. A headline and photo caption on Page A3 in yesterday's morning edition incorrectly stated that the boat had been towed to Hilo. The story also incorrectly listed the boat's owner as William Tepper or Temper.