Rimas Meleshyus was born on Russia’s Black Sea some 60 years ago. In 1988 he escaped the Soviet Union through the American Embassy in Moscow. Living in America he discovered sailing, and recently he’s set off on some very ambitious small-boat cruises.
In June 2012 Rimas crossed the challenging Gulf of Alaska in an old San Juan 24 (generally considered a near-shore weekender). The tumultuous voyage included striking a whale, a harrowing capsize, and his nearly being run down by a freighter.
As a result of the near collision, Rimas didn’t sleep for three days, trying to stay alert for shipping traffic. A month into his journey, 50 miles from Unalaksa, the groggy skipper struck a reef. After trying in vain for several hours to free the boat, he fell asleep. When we woke many hours later he was beach in remote Sarana Bay.
This many months later, that’s where his boat remains. Retrieval in the shallow tidal waters would be expensive, dangerous, and maybe impossible. Rimas was flown out by Coast Guard helicopter.
Meleshyus remains undeterred by these events and is determined to sail solo around the world on a San Juan 24. He hopes to sail next from Port Townsend to Japan, then around Cape Horn on his way to the UK.
He’s found another used San Juan 24 and is seeking donations of money and or equipment to help make his dream a reality. Look for an interview with Rimas in the print magazine soon. —Eds
To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org