Two sailors, one from this western Michigan city, were defeated by mountainous waves off the tip of South America in their quest to break a 136-year-old sailing record, a spokeswoman said.
Steve Pettengill, 39, of Grand Rapids and Rick Wilson, 40, of Boston left San Francisco on Oct. 22 in Wilson's 60-foot triamaran Great American. They were attempting to reach Boston in less than 76 days and six hours - the record set in 1853 by the cargo-laden clipper Northern Light.But 50-foot waves driven by winds up to 80 mph overturned the Great American off Cape Horn about 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, said Barbara Kalunian, who spoke to Wilson via a ship-to-shore radio Friday.
Wilson said a larger wave righted the craft about an hour later. The mast was broken into three pieces.
Wilson and Pettengill had been in the water 31 days and were about four days ahead of the record Wednesday.
The sailors, pelted by hail and freezing rain, huddled in the swamped craft for 14 hours. They were rescued Thursday night by the 900-foot container ship New Zealand Pacific. The huge ship nearly plowed over the helpless craft before crew members spotted flares shot off by Wilson and Pettengill.
The voyage was intended in part to raise funds for the American Lung Association, which had a 900 telephone number set up where interested people could call - for a fee - and hear progress reports on the trip.