Terrorist attack delays record attempt

Wilson and Biewanga will now set off on their New York-Melbourne record on Wednesday

Monday September 17th 2001, Author: Keith Taylor, Location: United Kingdom

Skipper Rich Wilson and his co-skipper Bill Biewenga, have postponed their departure from New York City's Chelsea Piers, on their attempt to break the Clipper record between there and Melbourne, Australia. For previous information about this trip click here.

Their action follows the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

The two-man crew were to leave today, Sunday but now plan to depart on their 53ft trimaran Great American II, starting from the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, September 19 at noon.

The 53-foot Great American II arrived at Chelsea Piers from Salem, Massachusetts, last week, one day before the tragic attack blocks away at the World Trade Center. The two men abandoned their voyage preparations on Tuesday to provide volunteer support with other helpers at an emergency aid station that was set up Chelsea Piers.

The two men are setting sail to introduce sitesALIVE’s newest Web-based educational program, Ocean Challenge Live! (part of Wilson's educational website) while simultaneously attempting to break a 145-year-old record set by the clipper ship Mandarin during Australia's gold rush.

"This unthinkable act has delayed our departure while strengthening our resolve to show the world our country's resolve," said Wilson. "I've never been more proud of the boat's namesake."

Through the sitesALIVE! Web site, a neighbor recently sent the sailors words of encouragement. Peter Lake of Marblehead, Massachusetts wrote: "Ernest Shackleton was about to set off for the Antarctic in August 1914, when The Great War broke out. Shackleton offered to volunteer his ship for the war, but Churchill
sent him on his way with the single word, 'Proceed.' He did, and endured his great adventure to become a legend. Shackleton and Churchill and all the great heroes of the past would want you to proceed now with great success. Show our flag proudly to the world. Good luck and safe passage as you seek the safety of the sea and leave behind the sorrow of our great national disaster."

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