The drift continues.

Avid readers may recall my previous log entry about Rimas Meleshyus, the Soviet-American “sailor” who is supposedly sailing around the world. More precisely, he is drifting from tow boat to tow boat around a single Pacific current, since he has yet to prove that he actually knows how to make a boat go in the direction of his choosing.

To Recap

Free Boat #1: Rimas wrecked his first free boat, a San Juan 24 named Cesura, on the Alaskan island of Akutan, by driving the keel into the beach like a lawn dart. He stayed on the boat, grounded, for a week until the Coast Guard declared his voyage “manifestly unsafe” and rescued him against his will.

Free Boat #2: This alleged around-the-world attempt began when he set sail from Puget Sound toward Cape Horn in his second free boat, another San Juan 24 named Pier Pressure. In storms off the coast of Mexico, his boat was damaged, he “lost” his outboard engine, and was forced to divert/randomly ambled to Hawaii for repairs. After some Samaritans helped fix and provision his boat, he proceeded to drift back toward San Francisco, where he lost contact with his handlers, prematurely deployed (and then lost) his life raft, and caused a cargo ship and several Coast Guard resources to go looking for him. He declined all offers for assistance, but then couldn’t figure out how to actually get into San Francisco Bay and wound up accepting a tow into the harbor. After some more scrounging, another resupply, and another tow out, he departed from California and was soon swept into the Great Pacific Trash Gyre, where he was very slowly nudged toward American Samoa. After some time in Pago Pago, he somehow acquired cash (possibly from the sale of the boat?) and flew back to the US mainland.

The Ongoing Voyages

Free Boat #3: Contrary to all reason, Rimas managed to procure a third boat, a Rawson 30 named Mimsy, and promptly went missing

He was anchored outside of Sausalito when his anchor rode chafed through. Unable to either start the engine or sail the boat, he sat there, probably with a stupid look on his face, while his boat drifted aimlessly. Given the state of the tide, he was sucked out of the Golden Gate and into the Pacific Ocean. He must have had plenty of Idahoan Buttery Homestyle Instant Mashed Potatoes (his favorite survival chow) or other supplies on board, since he decided to roll with it for a while. After a few days, he drifted down to Monterey Bay and recalled that he had a VHF radio, at which point he called for help. The Coasties towed him in to Monterey, California. He got a couple free days of emergency mooring, but then the harbor master told him that he had to either leave or start paying.

…and he certainly wasn’t going to pay. Since he has never gotten to or from a dock under his own command, he convinced the harbor master to give him a tow out to sea (which could be construed as attempted manslaughter) and that was the last anyone heard from him for a good while. Eventually he showed up in Hilo, Hawaii, which is fairly remarkable considering that he hadn’t really provisioned for a trip of that scale.

Rimas spent an extended stay in Hilo, and several of the Sailing Anarchy Faithful had thought that he’d hung it up for good. Rimas even implied that he was done via Facebook:

I moved to my friends house ! No anymore living on the sailboat, more room and more quite place too.
Rimas Meleshyus
January 31, 2017

But Rimas was creeping toward provisioning for another trip…apparently intending to survive mostly mostly off of cocktail garnishes.

It’s not entirely clear if he actually wanted to continue sailing or if he primarily wanted to escape dock fees, but his handlers traveled to Hawaii and helped him prepare Mimsy as much as possible for another voyage.

He declared that he wanted to head back to Alaska, and immediately set a course due south from Hawaii, approximately 180° in the wrong direction. The details of his departure are not known, but it’s assumed that he was towed out, since he has never entered or exited a harbor without assistance and his DeLorme tracked a top speed over 4kts—far in excess of his typical “sailing” speed. The best news is that his DeLorme device is back in service, and he has resumed the transmission of curious messages in broken English.

Good morning from greatest sailing boat Missy. I begin sailing again.
June 2, 2017 10:05:00 GMT
13.7266°N, 154.3214°W

I was, of course, required to revive Rimas Adrift, my page that collects his comments in a way that hopefully highlights the mangled poetry in his attempts at prose. They changed the format of their data feed so it was kind of a pain to get it going again, but it was good practice and seems to be working after some initial hiccups. Please check out the site if you haven’t:

I don’t know where he’s going, and I feel terrible for those who will have to take responsibility for saving him wherever he turns up, but as it can be with my own sailing, I look forward to the journey.

"Prepare to fend off the bridge abutment."

12 thoughts on “The Rimas Rebound

  1. Thanks for creating and maintaining Rimas Adrift. I would like to point out that the ping from June 3 shows a speed of 8 mph. Surely that’s a record of some sort.

    1. Or an error. There’s no way, right? That’s almost 7 knots. That boat? With those sails? And that skipper?

  2. I have to finish reading, but my initial reaction is that if one were to be indicted following epic misadventures during a classic bender, they would likely be puzzled by the prosecutor’s accounting of it. Why ruin an epic misadventure my Brother? Rimas is the genuine article . . . what that article is . . . can only be understood by appreciation of Rimas — not the prosecutor’s allegations. Tresle?

  3. When I ran the fuel dock at the Ala Wai in Honolulu, we had a young guy show up on the transient dock in a San Juan 24, with a vietnamese potbelly pig as a bet (or possibly provisions). After several weeks of preparations.. he motored out of the harbor on his way to Kauai, never to be heard from again. A couple months later one of our dockmates was having beers with some coasties and heard a story about a small sailboat found half way between Oahu and Kauai flying it’s jib upside down… but when asked.. apparently not in distress. They helped adjust his course, and rigged his sail properly, and allowed him to go on his way…. apparently god watches over the fools at sea. (and I’m thankful for that).

    1. Interesting, I’ll have to read up more on that guy. If he can make his shed go in a specific direction or get into a harbor without requiring a tow, he’s way more advanced than Rimas.

  4. Admire him for his determination but kinda pissed at the people who enable him to keep doing it.

    He’s gonna F’in die out there!

    1. Hey Dan. Thanks for checking out our boat log.

      He’ll probably just drift to within a hundred miles of some island with a rescue boat that will go tow him in. Life is just a jar of maraschino cherries.

  5. Chip, thank you so much for tracking Rimas. I live in Hilo and have befriended him for several years (2 voyages & 2 calls to the CG). Yes, you’re quite correct in everything you’ve written. I’m a sailor and have tried to talk sailing tech stuff with him but gave up. He is clueless and obsessed with Facebook not sailing. I tried to get him to sell his boat and stay in Hawaii, he has friends here, but he seems determined to die at sea. And I’m afraid this time he’ll get his wish. He’s not a bad person, this is just what he does. But please do try showing a modicum of compassion for the sailing dead. You never know when fate may play it’s hand. Aloha!

    1. Hi Jon, thanks for writing.

      I was probably more even-handed in my original Rimas article. The last one may have been a little more biting, although I hope that no one thinks I’m rooting against him in the big picture. I sincerely hope that Rimas makes it back to land, and that he does so without endangering anyone else who may be called upon to rescue him.

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