PETER BIRD - AUTOGRAPH NOTE SIGNED 07/16/1983 - HFSID 52689
Sale Price $180.00
THE ADVENTURER, WHO WAS THE FIRST TO ROW SOLO ACROSS THE PACIFIC OCEAN, DETAILS THE HARROWING ENDING TO HIS TRIP FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO AUSTRALIA AND THANKS HIS SUPPORTERS
PETER BIRD. ANS: "Pete Bird", 2p, 8½x11, separate sheets. Mill Valley, California, 1983 July 16. Written at lower margin of two-page typed newsletter to "Dear Bill". In full: "I havent (sic) forgotten your 8x10 glossy, I shall mail one to you just as soon as I can. Thank you for your interest Yours". Newsletter, which is headed "PETER BIRD'S TRANS PACIFIC SOLO ROW/NEWSLETTER", is signed: "Pete Bird" on page 2. In full, as written: "The Trans Pacific Solo Row started in San Francisco on August 23, 1982 And finished in Australia at the 'Great Barrier Reef' on June 14, 1983. It's been just one month since I stepped aboard the HMAS BENDIGO one half mile from the barrier reef some 300 miles north west of Cairns in North Queensland. After 294 days alone at sea it would be an understatement to say I am glad to be ashore. My feelings were tempered by the knowledge of how close I'd come to a very nasty end. It's true to say that without the tracking system of service Argos and the skills of the Commanding Officer Colin Jones RAN, his officers and crew of HMAS BENDIGO, I would not be alive today. Also, instrumental in the resuce was the skipper 'Lee' and his 1st mate 'Wife' of the fishing ketch 'WOMBIE III' who not only relayed radio messages for me as HELE-ON-BRITANNIA's batteries weakened, but kept me company in those last dark hours before dawn on June 14, 1983. The wreckage of HELE-ON-BRITANNIA has been recovered, both bow and stern sections are to be displayed at the Sydney Maritime Museum. There are no plans to return the boat to the United States in the foreseeable future. I feel it is fitting that she remain in the country to which she so valiantly voyaged. For those 294 days the HELE-ON-BRITANNIA excelled in everyway. I didn't have one problem with the boat (not including 2 light bulbs and 3 fuses), even after a couple of cyclones and a hurricane, all I could find to complain about was a sheared stove mounting. There is no doubt in my mind that the HELE-ON-BRITANNIA was the most seaworthy vessel ever to cross the ocean. A credit to Uffa Fox who designed her and to Foo Lim who built her. My reception in Australia was something I was totally unprepared for, the warmth and generosity shown to me, my family, and friends was in the true outgoing Aussie spirit. Though I must say I could have benifitted with less spirit! I spent two weeks in Australia on a madcap whirl from Cairns to Brisbane, Sydney, to Melbourne and back to Sydney. Two weeks of talking to radio, tv and newspapers. I've agreed to promote Australia through the Australian Tourist Commission, specifically the Great Barrier Reef and North Queensland, in the United States and the United Kingdom. Although I am certainly no expert, I have taken a closer look at the reef than most people. I spent a happy two days in Hawaii meeting with old friends and bringing everyone up to date. Then on to San Francisco, the start of it all. The circle was complete. A lively press conference awaited me and then on to renew old friendships. Though not so long in time but certainly a lot of experience separated us, but in a short time I felt I had never been away. The big event was still to come on July 6th I was invited to attend a civic reception held in my honor at the Sonoma Plaza, where I was presented with the key to Sonoma and made honorary citizen of Sonoma. Some 350 townspeople came to the celebration which was helped along with ample amounts of champagne. I was overwhelmed by the support of the people who had followed the progress of my voyage and rightfully felt a part of the experience. I wish for them all the pleasure and satisfaction I've had from the experience. I would like to thank you all, my friends, my family for their help and support, to Kenneth Cruchlow who like a true friend has supported me and this project for these last three years. And I would like to wish Kenneth well for his future activities as we take a separate course from now on. I must say it saddens me to see this adventure come to a close. For the future Allen Guilford expects to finish the documentary film by late September. There will be a book, when, depends on the publisher. I expect also to spend some time lecturing both here in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Once again I thank you all for your generous support. Best wishes". In 1983, Peter Bird (1947-1996) became the first to row solo across the Pacific Ocean. On May 31, 1996, Bird began his fifth attempt to be the first to row from Russia to the United States. On June 2, 1996, he was missing and presumed dead after his 29-foot craft capsized approximately 1,300 miles east of Japan. He had expected his 4,450-mile voyage to take 200-plus days. Two signatures. Lightly creased with folds, lower horizontal fold at signature beneath newsletter. Mounting remnants on verso of signature page, minor show through at corners and two lines of type (all legible). Slightly soiled at upper margin of first page. Fine and interesting.
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