Astoria’s wayward sailor, 65-year old Russian immigrant Rimas Meleshyus, disappeared July 31 off the southeast coast of Fiji in his 30-foot boat, Mimsy, and was presumed lost at sea. This was the latest of Rimas’ several attempts to sail (more accurately, drift) around the world. When last heard from, he was in dire straits, and had no sails or motor. Then the battery died, and he lost his satellite and radio.
After being at sea for 137 days (missing for 77), the news came Monday evening that Rimas had been rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Public Safety’s Boating Safety Section off the coast of Saipan. “All people good, I’m so happy,” he told Saipan reporter Sherri Riggs, shortly after he was brought in (www.facebook.com/SherriRiggsTV). Rimas and the Mimsy are pictured in a screen shot from her broadcast.
But how did Rimas get so far north? His specialty, Kon-Tiki drifting with the currents, wouldn’t work to go north from Fiji; the currents move south. Using a plain white sheet as a sail, he made headway north against the current, setting his sights on Saipan. Why? Because he’d never been there before.
A South Korean ship helped Rimas along the way, giving him food and water supplies, and a battery for his GPS and radio, which is how he finally managed to call for help. When they arrived, the Coast Guard wanted him to leave the Mimsy, and helicopter him to a hospital straightaway, but Rimas refused.
“No, I cannot leave boat,” he told his rescuers. “I don’t want to. I want to sail this boat continue around the world … This boat so good to me. I never leave the boat, you know.”
Yes, you heard that right. Determined and undaunted as ever, he plans to fix the Mimsy and keep on sailing. To Japan, Alaska, Washington state, Australia, the Indian Ocean … the dream lives on.
“I want to sail to 100 years, as many, many ports as can,” he enthusiastically told Sherri Riggs. “I want to go every.”