Thursday, January 04, 2007
Ken Barnes, 47, set out alone from Long Beach on Oct. 28, headed for Cape Horn, the southernmost point of South America, according to his Web site. The waters off the cape, known as "the roaring 50s," are renowned for being rough. Seeking to circumnavigate the planet by himself in his 44-foot ketch named Privateer, Barnes ran into rough weather on New Year's Day about 500 miles off the coast. He used a satellite telephone to call his girlfriend in Newport Beach about 5 a.m. Wednesday. "I didn't want him to go," Cathy Chambers told the Los Angeles Times. "But he has had this dream for 15 years."
The PrivateerA signal from Barnes' emergency position indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB, was later received, and U.S. Coast Guard and Chilean authorities started rescue operations. A Chilean aircraft was expected to home in on the beacon Wednesday afternoon and contact Barnes. The aircraft would also drop survival gear -- life rafts or survival suits -- if needed. The nearest vessel, about 150 miles away, was motoring toward the site and was expected to reach Barnes within about 24 hours. A cargo vessel also was en route and expected to arrive about the same time. Chambers said Barnes sounded good, "but then he was crying too; so he's upset about having to leave the boat at some point." Barnes told her the boat was not sinking, just at the whimsy of the wind and waves, and he was trying to save the battery in his satellite phone to make contact with Chilean authorities. "I don't care about the boat," she told Barnes, a father of three. "I just want you home."