Stein Hoff's boat had to be abandoned at sea, but has been found!
Last year, Stein Hoff of Norway spent 84 days at sea, rowing from New York to the Isle of Scilly off the coast of England. Stein had to be rescued from a storm at sea by a passing ship, but the cargo freighter had no way of towing his rowboat home. The Fox II had to be abandoned. Now, nine months later, the lost boat has been spotted in the desolate icy shores of Spildra, Norway, an island near the 70-degree north latitude mark.
Credit: the Bjørklunds
14-year-old Trygve Tidemann Bjørklund and his father spotted the boat frozen to the shoreline of the island of Spildra. Having been out fishing for the day, they were certainly intrigued by the small shipwreck on the remote island. They went ashore to investigate the curious craft, finding it to be none other than Stein Hoff’s lost boat.
American flag found on the boat. Credit: Bjørklund
They reported damage to the side rail and main cabin, but a compartment on the front was still sealed. All of the compartments they managed to open were filled with ice, and they don’t expect it to thaw until June.
Credit: Jan Erik Pedersen
Stein continues to work on his book about the journey while he waits to recover the boat he spent 84 days rowing in stormy seas in. Due to the remote location of the island, no roads exist to reach the boat.
Ripley’s, along with Stein, think their best shot is the Hurtigruten, which takes cars and tourists to and from Norway’s northern- most islands.
Credit: Jan Erik Pedersen
Credit: Jan Erik Pedersen
Stein Hoff SafeDetails of his Dramatic Rescue
Originally published August 10, 2016
The Unbelievable Voyage
Stein Hoff just after being rescued.
Stein Hoff was rescued on August 6, 2016. He sent Ripley’s updates and photos of his dramatic rescue.
Tonight, Wednesday 10th August, it is four days since I was rescued and felt reborn, hauled up from my tossing “Fox II.” Many times I thought that little cabin was to become my coffin as the boat was knocked-down and rolled over numerous times.
During his 11-hour wait for rescue, Stein Hoff contemplated if he would survive his treacherous ordeal.
I was seriously doubting if we would ever rise, thinking water had come in somewhere and stopped the self-writing ability, so I was talking to and taking farewell with my dearest. I really thought it was the end.
His boat sustained incredible damage, and Stein thought the boat might break apart before the rescue team made it to him.
My boat was thrown around and about so violently a couple of times so that it pounded into the sea with loud thumping noise and vibration. I thought it might split. But it did not […] There was tremendous damage to my equipment. All oars cracked and floppy, one broke completely and was washed away.
Hoff waiting for the Ludolf Oldendorff to get close enough to rescue him.
The M/V Ludolf Oldendorff, a carrier vessel, responded to Stein Hoff’s distress call via the British Coast Guard. Due to the waves and weather conditions, it took hours for the vessel to maneuver close enough to Hoff’s ship to throw him a literal lifeline.
Captain Edi Cherim (from Romania) up at the bridge, led the difficult rescue from deck level, 18 m above the sea. Maneuvering the unloaded ship (in ballast) in 6 m waves in order to get close to and shelter me was not easy. Twice I drifted away too fast. Reversing upwind past me eventually did the trick [….] After about 1hour 40 minutes since first arriving, I was standing/staggering safely on deck!
The Ludolf Oldendorff rescuing Stein Hoff.
After what he describes as going from “Hell to Heaven,” Hoff talks about the contrast in his new living conditions versus what he had on his tiny boat.
Here I am, on M/V Ludolf Oldendorff, a 300 m long bulk carrier, enjoying superb hospitality and friendship, as much food as I can eat. […] I have my own cabin with a bed that does not move, wash basin and shower with warm water, toilet you can flush with a button! (I wonder how many times before I stop thinking it is a
HIS JOURNEY IS NOT OVER
Though his original plan was to row from New York to the Isles of Scilly, Stein Hoff plans on finishing his journey, though not in the way he had hoped.
We carry on to Isles of Scilly to finish the planned journey. Not by rowing “Fox II” there as I had hoped for years, I am sorry to say, but to finish my business of honouring Harbo & Samuelsen […] It is a sort of pilgrimage, I suppose. But Isles of Scilly is also a charming and fascinating place. After that I can return to more normal life again in Norway.
Stein Hoff plans on putting together a full account of his harrowing journey.
Soon I will be able to start reading your greetings and comments and start posting pictures to illustrate good – and not so good – aspects of rowing the North Atlantic alone! Possibly another “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” story!
Stein Hoff holding the story of Harbo & Samuelsen, the inspration for his journey.
Ripley’s chronicled 70-year old Norwegian man’s transatlantic solo row from New York City to England
Norway’s Stein Hoff attempted to boldly row where few men have gone before – across the Atlantic ocean from New York City to England – and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! chronicled his epic endeavor.
Hoff attempted to row solo, carrying all his supplies, with no chase boats or any kind of assistance. His plan was to spend approximately 90 days at sea, covering 2,500 to 3,000 nautical miles. Perhaps most unbelievable of all – Hoff is 70 years old.
“For Stein Hoff to do it solo at the age of 70 is an amazing feat and truly a ‘believe it or not!’ event.”
Hoff is wanted to recreate the 1896 journey of two Norwegian Americans, George Harbo and Gabriel Samuelsen, who were the first people to row across an ocean. Robert Ripley wrote about their feat in his first Ripley’s Believe It or Not! book.
Hoff named his 24-foot rowboat the Fox II, after Harbo and Samuelsen’s boat, the Fox. While it has technical advantages over its predecessor – GPS, a satellite phone, VHF radio and several safety features – there is no motor and Hoff has to row on his own.
“Only a handful of people in the world have ever completed a transatlantic row,” said Edward Meyer, Ripley’s VP of Exhibits and Archives. “For Stein Hoff to do it solo at the age of 70 is an amazing feat and truly a ‘believe it or not!’ event.”
Items used by Hoff during his journey have become part of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! collection.
With only 804 nautical miles to go, Stein Hoff is closing in on his destination, but there’s a storm brewing up ahead. It’s time to batton down the hatches and try to wait it out to the best of his ability. He’s getting all of his necessary supplies in order and keeping everything close at hand as he prepares to lock himself inside his cabin and wait the storm out. Or maybe the story storm will shift, and the winds will be able to propel him towards his destination. Only time will tell.
Stein Hoff has been stuck in a fog. He’s still making progress, but it’s less interesting and visual than it would be if the area were clear and visibility were high. He’s got pods of dolphins to keep him company, though, and he’s seen a few of them every day for awhile now. He’s also got some curious Fulmar gulls flying around and landing close to his oars for a closer sight of this solitary rowing man. He hasn’t seen any whales yet, but as he makes his way farther through the North Atlantic, it’s only a matter of time before he does.
Day 60 starts off pretty well for Stein Hoff. The wind is against him, but he doesn’t really mind it. He’s making pretty good progress and has even seen a few wales. It’s much colder in the North Atlantic than it is down in sunny Florida, but he’s got his gear. And then, out of nowhere, the weather turns, and he’s forced to deal with huge winds, waves, and sprays. The forecast said it should calm down, but it did the opposite. Things are looking rough for our traveler.