Olek Loses Rudder, Tries for Bermuda

Polish adventurer will attempt repairs to continue trans-Atlantic crossing

Photo: Ricardo Bravo, Canoe&Kayak/Canoandes

Photo: Ricardo Bravo, Canoe&Kayak/Canoandes

Kayaker Aleksander “Olek” Doba has lost his rudder, and will attempt to land in Bermuda for repairs before continuing his 5,200-mile crossing from Portugal to Florida.

The 67-year-old Polish adventurer tweeted the news yesterday via satellite phone.

Doba is currently about 250 miles southwest of Bermuda, and 800 miles east of Florida. For more than a month before his rudder support failed yesterday morning, Doba had been going in circles as he battled persistent storms pushing him north and east, toward Bermuda.

“Bermuda has been inviting him for the last month, and he fought not to be there,” says Polish-American explorer Piotr Chmielinski, who communicated with Doba this morning by satellite text.

Doba wanted to repair his ocean-going kayak at sea and continue directly to Florida, but Chmielinski and kayak designer Andrzej Arminski have reportedly convinced Doba that is impossible.

Despite consistent setbacks, Doba remains determined to reach Florida under his ownpower, even if that means a stop in Bermuda first. Doba left Lisbon, Portugal 132 days ago. He already has been at sea longer than any kayaker in history.

Bermuda is a much easier target for Doba than Florida, Chmielinski says. “He could reach Bermuda in three to four days with this wind,” he says.

The question is whether Doba will be able to hold a course to Bermuda without his rudder. His next position check should reveal whether he is able to make progress toward the island.

Photo courtesy Andrzej Arminski

Photo courtesy Andrzej Arminski

More stories and updates on Doba:

Doba Breaks 47-Day Silence at Sea

Olek to Rescuers: Thanks but No Thanks

My Dinner Date with Doba

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