Santa Cruz

Coast Guard Rescues Hawaii-Bound Kayaker Outside Santa Cruz

Cyril Derreumaux was found to be in good condition with no medical concerns, Coast Guard officials said.

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A kayaker hoping to paddle solo from California to Hawaii was rescued six days after he set out by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter amid rough seas and high winds.

Cyril Derreumaux endured several problems with his 23-foot kayak, but when he lost his sea anchor he said he knew he had to cut his adventure short.

Cyril Derreumaux begins his solo kayaking journey from the Bay Area to Hawaii.
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Cyril Derreumaux begins his solo kayaking journey from the Bay Area to Hawaii. (May 31, 2021)

After consulting with his land crew, Derreumaux phoned the Coast Guard for a rescue Saturday night about 70 miles west of Santa Cruz. A diver was lowered from a helicopter into the water and helped hoist Derreumaux up.

In addition to losing the anchor, the kayak's anchor lines had become entangled in the rudder, the GPS wasn’t functioning properly and Derreumaux was seasick while pummeled with 12-foot waves.

On his Facebook page, Derreumaux wrote that ocean conditions on Saturday evening were rough, but manageable; however, that all changed around 9 p.m. "when my ground crew told me that they had lost the AIS signal for 3 hours. I then [noticed] that my navigation system has lost the GPS signal and couldn't recover it."

As Derreumaux and his ground crew worked on those issues, he became aware of trouble with his kayak.

"In a few moments my kayak was positioned almost parallel to the axis of the waves, and I found myself violently tossed from side to side, along with all the equipment that was stored in the cabin," he wrote.

"Attempts to get out to more accurately assess the condition of the sea anchor and to resolve the issue were unsuccessful and resulted in water entering my cabin." Derreumaux said he then had to make the difficult decision to request evacuation.

"As night had just fallen, it was clear that the situation was not sustainable: Inability to eat, drink, sleep, communicate easily with my team ashore," he wrote. "With my land support crew, we then reported the situation I was in to the U.S. Coast Guard to jointly explore all possible options."

Derreumaux’s boat remains adrift in the ocean. He said he hopes to coordinate a retrieval effort this week when the winds die down.

"Morale is good, I still have my passion for this adventure intact, and I am still determined to make it happen," Derreumaux wrote. "I won't give up!!!"

Derreumaux set out May 31 from Sausalito, California and expected the Pacific voyage to take about 70 days. He prepared for the trip for three years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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