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The ultimate ride: 32,000kms by jetski

Jeremy Burfoot and his crew stopped their world record attempt at day 29 after 8,000 kms of riding; three days later they were dramatically rescued by helicopter and saved from their sinking crafts....

September 2nd, 2010

Ultimate Ride Team Rescued by Greek Air force.

At c.1.30pm on 31st August Jeremy Burfoot, Travis Donoghue and Ivan Otulic were rescued by Greek Air force helicopter about 60km south east of Santorini in the Aegean Sea.

The three men set out at 5am from the island of Karpathos with the intention of making Santorini before a predicted worsening of the weather in the region. By 8am they had made the half way point but the weather worsened and they found themselves riding into 60-70km per hour winds and battling 3-4m waves almost head on.

Burfoot said that progress was slowed to about 15km per hour and their Seadoos were taking immense punishment, often being completely submerged by waves.The machines were slowly taking on water as their forward speed was inadequate for the venturi bilge system to work well. Auxiliary bilge pumps that the team had installed all failed because of the extreme conditions. Eventually the first machine started having multiple problems because of the hull being full of water. While this was being dealt with, the second Seadoo succumbed to the same problems and the third was showing signs of distress.

At around 10.30am the team made the decision to set off their GME PLB (personal locater beacons) and waited for rescue.

They were pulled from the water by a Greek Air Force helicopter around 1.30pm with no injuries except cuts and bruises and sunburn.

Burfoot said that any suggestion that the Seadoos were to blame were totally incorrect. “No PWC (personal water craft) is designed for hours and hours of that sort of punishment. Under the circumstances I can’t speak highly enough about the handling and ride of the S3 Hull, especially given the weights of gear and equipment we were carrying.”

“The GME beacons were life savers”. The new 406 GPS equiped beacons that are not much bigger than a mobile phone sent a GPS position accurate to within 10m direct to the Rescue Coordination Center in Wellington New Zealand.The RCC contacted the Greek authorities and the helicopter was directed straight to the three men.They were lifted to nearby Santorini, taken to hospital for a check up and then later discharged.

Burfoot said that the team would like to thank the Greek Air force team and the Coastguard team on Santorini for their professionalism and helpful and friendly attitude.

The men will remain in Santorini for the next few days to deal with formalities.They plan to continue their mission of promoting healthy living and early detection of cancer by other means.

Day 29 It’s all over.

August 30th, 2010

This post in memory of Douglas John Ell and Vanessa Margaret Beare

Dear Friends/Supporters

You have probably noticed that not much info has been forthcoming in the past few days. I apologize for that but there is a very good reason. We did make the south coast of Turkey at Fenike two days ago but since then there have been some major changes. I have been waiting until now to tell you all as I didn’t quite know what to say.

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that The Jayco Ultimate ride has been called off. There are a number of reasons for this and in no particular order they are: 1. Even though Seadoo are still the best PWC brand in the world, they are not designed to take the continuous punishment that we have subjected them to with our hectic schedule and the modifications that we made to them. We found that we were continually losing time for maintenance and struggling to get spare parts in out of the way places. As a result we were getting further and further behind. When a fuel leak developed in my long range tank, effectively ruling out long open water crossings, we knew we couldn’t make Australia in the time I have available. The sponsored money from Jayco was always conditional on us reaching Australia as Jayco is an Australian Company with nothing to gain from exposure outside Australia and NZ so we offered it back on this basis and the offer was accepted. We have always struggled financially with the ride and this situation became unacceptable as a result. We are all in too much debt already.

2. Due to a rise in tentions in Yemen the NZ department of Foregn Affairs has strenuously warned us not to proceed south of Egypt unattended. The risk of terrorist and pirate attacks in Yemen has risen to an unacceptable level and we would be a prime target.

We all have families and it woul be unfair to put their futures at risk for an adventure, even with such a good cause.

So friends, I am sorry if you feel we have let you down. I and my team have worked hard on this ride for three years now and we are absolutely beside ourselves with disappointment.

Keep spreading the healthy living message and early detection of cancer message. I will be. Even if we have saved only one life with it, all of this will have been worthwhile.

We are now in Rhodos in Greece riding north to Croatia where Ivan lives so that the skis can be returned to BRP. By the time we get there we will have covered some 8000km.

Regards Jeremy

The history:

New Zealander adventurer Jeremy Burfoot is well into planning a world record journey on personal watercraft by riding from London to Sydney to Auckland in August 2010. The epic journey, named THE ULTIMATE RIDE, is being undertaken to raise awareness of and funds for cancer research.

The brainchild of New Zealand born Australian and Qantas 747 captain, Jeremy Burfoot, The Ultimate Ride will set off from the Thames River in London early August 2010. After crossing the English Channel, Jeremy and his co-rider, will enter the Rhine at Rotterdam and travel east until they join the Danube and spill out into the Black Sea before travelling across the Mediterranean to Suez.

Once through the canal the journey will take them to India via the Red Sea and Indian Ocean before travelling onto Singapore, then down the Indonesian Archipelago to Darwin in Northern Australia. A turn to the east and they navigate down the eastern seaboard via the Great Barrier Reef and Tasman Sea to arrive in Sydney sometime in November 2010 and then onto Auckland for the finish.

The 32,000km ride will break the current personal water craft distance record of 18,400km by over 13,000km.

Burfoot’s reason for such an epic journey is based on his own dice with cancer and his desire to ensure funds are put into researching the one disease that both the developed and developing world are struggling to combat.

In February 2006 Burfoot and a fellow Australian took their personal watercraft on a 5,000km, 19 day “warm up and shake down” ride around New Zealand. This was the first ever circumnavigation of New Zealand on personal watercraft and the resulting publicity and buy-in by a number of organisations, including the Cancer Society, saw Jeremy set a date of June 2009 for the Ultimate Ride from London to Sydney.

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