A red dot bobbing in the ocean off Diamond Head caught the attention of the boat crew looking for the red buoy that would mark the end of their 15-day Transpac sail from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Instead, it was the red shirt of a man stranded at sea. He had been clinging to his kayak and hope for four hours by the time the boat approached.

When the crew realized he was in trouble, they lowered the sails, started the motor and executed the “man overboard” rescue that all racers must master before they go to sea. The man they hauled aboard was no novice. Guy Wilding is kayak coach of the Sprint National Team aiming to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. He paddles daily in his 18-foot kayak. But this day his paddle broke, he was dumped into the ocean and unable to get back in the kayak. The waves were pushing him out to sea but the wind kept him in place. Even after he spotted the approaching sail, he wasn’t sure the boat would see him in the ocean swells.

After the rescue, the yacht continued to the finish line and traditional welcome at the Waikiki Yacht Club in Honolulu. But the cheers that greet each finisher were especially sincere from Wilding’s wife and daughter. The Coast Guard had notified him that he would be arriving in a different boat than the one he paddled out. The yacht bringing Wilding safely home is named Second Chance – and its owners made the crossing as a move to Hawaii, where they will be new residents of Honolulu.

I just love happy endings, don’t you?This story is spreading through Transpac participants by word of mouth and has been mentioned on local television. I got the details from the official Transpac media release at transpacrace.com.


  1. Awesome story Cindy!  Love the boat name; very apropos. Aloha to the new residents of Oahu, what a fantastic way to start their new life in Hawaii!!

  2. Great posting, Mahalo Cindy!  As an avid ocean person myself, it is so important for all ocean goers to always be alert to other ocean goers that may be in need of help.  I've been in this situation before and its very scary.  Currents can be ripping, and a plan to enjoy the ocean with an easy swim, paddle boarding, canoe or kayak paddle can change drastically and end up with the ocean goer in uneasy waters, pushing you quickly in an opposite direction from where you were trying to go.  With winds and waves a scream or yell cannot be heard.  Lets all keep an eye out, be alert and help anyone in need if you are able.  Awesome posting and so important!

  3. Colors are a great safety idea while participating in ocean activities, Cindy.  Wearing bright colored clothing is wise.   We do the same in picking our one man canoe colors….something bright that stands out for easy visibility always helps!

  4. I think that’s fantastic that a yacht in the middle of a race would stop to pick up a distressed boater. Just goes to show how great boaters are. I mean, if they’d just reported the mob position, by the time anyone else could have gotten there he’d have been blown further out by the wind and waves!

    Great Job Second Chance Racers!!!

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