As It Happens

American sailors in Cornwall called 'incompetent' after many rescue calls

A pair of American sailors called for rescue seven times since departing from Norway last summer.
Bob Weise and Steve Shapiro have been sailing on this boat, named Nora, since the summer. (Steve Shapiro)

Fishermen from a UK beach town have doubts about the abilities of a pair of American sailors who needed rescuing earlier this week, says a local article. It's the seventh time that Bob Weise and Steve Shapiro have had to call for rescue since they embarked on a year-long sailing trip last summer. 

"We're having great fun. Everywhere we go the people are welcoming ... seamen are always helpful, even if they think you are crazy and don't know how to sail. So, we're having a great time," says Weise, a former army pilot from Idaho.

Steve Shapiro, left, and Bob Weise, kicked off their year-long sailing trip in July when they left Norway. (Steve Shapiro)

Since the rescue in St Ives, some local fishermen have been questioning Shapiro and Weise's seamanship. One fisherman told the BBC that the pair doesn't have "a clue what they're doing."

But Shapiro — an author originally from California — disagrees. 

"We're taking [the boat] across the oceans and we're finding out things that nobody knew were wrong with it. It has nothing to do with seamanship. It's totally the mechanics of the boat."

(Steve Shapiro)

The pair, both 71, left Norway in July. It's expected that their journey will last around a year. Their final destination is Maine. 

While Weise admits that members of St Ives Coastguard are worried about their safety, he says it doesn't bother him. 

"One of the coast guard fellows, he said, 'You guys could sink.'  And, I said, 'You know, there's worse places to die than at sea.' We're 71 years old. I've done everything in life. I've skydived. I've flown helicopters. I've been to Vietnam and Alaska. You know, to me, it's just an adventure." 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?