Truth in Media

$40 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 3 people in 8 months
Please help us fund an immediate campaign to pursue the media who omitted and obfuscated the facts surrounding our excursion in the Pacific Ocean. They were given a more complete story and chose not to publish it preferring to spin a tale of ocean fearful bungling yachtswomen adrift and not smart enough to call for help until some happenstance fishermen came to save them.   Assist us to nudge the media to play more fairly because the next person they might drag through the mud after a personal disaster by only telling selective pieces of a story could be you.

“Fake News” was already a subject of much conjecture prior to our leaving on May 3, 2017. Nearly six months is a considerable amount of time to compress into a few inches of copy or soundbites; however, they were given a more complete picture than what they chose to publish. At present, there are 157,000 different results in google search about our trip and not one that I have seen has provided an accurate account.

From Quarantine in Japan, I sent out clarifications when the first negative media spin occurred and yet most media outlets largely ignored those provable facts that did not agree with their spin. They did not apply the outdated Fairness Doctrine rules, Truth in Media or Fact Checking to their bias, nor offer apologies or retractions when they had clarifications from me to refute erroneous statements. The facts that were omitted, misquoted or misleading led to defamation of character. There was no hoax. There is no coast guard investigation because the gps information and more than 90 videos from the trip prove our planned multi-island blue water trip was no stunt for media attention. We debriefed with the US Coast Guard while on the USS Ashland, before the media torrent began.

Any sailor, knew to quit reading or listening to the press accounts as soon as they heard “the mast was damaged” when the footage from the US Navy during the rescue clearly showed no damage to the mast. It was the spreader that was improperly installed by the rigger that failed first. (A failed spreader would be like the axle breaking on your car.)

Before we went on NBC’s Today Show, the producers were given a thumb drive of information that they chose not to use that supported the claims to be discussed during the three minute interview. Apparently, that information was not passed on to the interviewer, because I was shaking my head as he asked the question about calling for help. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think anybody is going to see me waving my hand at night more than 50 miles from shore when the first raindrops hit us in the first night’s storm.

AP claimed there were “no organized storms”, some accounts go so far as to say “no storms” in the Hawaiian Islands. Within minutes only the by-line and article title changed but the texts printed around the globe were verbatim copies of an untruthful weather account pushed on the unsuspecting public as truth serving no positive purpose except from an attorney’s perspective for possible litigation. Two satellites from NOAA GOES-R show the back to back storm cells we encountered and the US Coast Guard furnished a written copy of the National Weather Service issued Maritime Advisory from earlier in the day. While I have never received the requested hardcopy of the evening broadcast, leave it to Inside Edition to find a view of the first storm cell we encountered and cobble a midnight phone call into a seemingly live daytime interview.

In the CNN article http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/31/asia/pacific-sailors-jennifer-appel-tasha-fuiava-questions/index.html there is a speed loop for approximately 24 hours of the weather pattern we experienced off the southwest edge of the Big Island. It may seem small and fast from your chair, but still shots of the offshore weather pattern show it was more than three times the size of the Big Island. The boat is only 50’ from tip to tip and we were travelling west to east past the South Point of Big Island, Hawai’i in that.

I understand the near shore shark experts factual representation of near shore shark size and behavior. It is doubtful the media would have been able to find a shark expert that had been through the Dragon’s Triangle. It is my understanding that only two fiberglass or wood sail boats with people have entered and exited the area in the past twenty years. The other guy said he “only saw birds”. Not only have I not been able to locate a single expert that can speak to the Dragon’s Triangle ocean life, I believe there are no other boaters from wooden or fiberglass boats, just sunken hulls without a voice.

In many cases, ie: the tabloid Daily Mail.uk, neither Tasha nor I gave any statement to them. Linus Wilson, the first espoused ‘sailor’ to stand up and note “holes” in my story should have been more accurate and stated “holes in the media’s story”.

The Guardian, we talked with at length, believing they were doing a piece about the trip to rectify facts and yet, not only did they re-hash statements that had no bearing on the sea voyage, they didn’t even state the ocean facts correctly.

We were never LOST AT SEA just “lost” to land people because the required 4’ antenna was not on top of the mast, which was another hired-out rigging failure. (Without an antenna to provide signal, your cell phone will not work.)

We were not ‘adrift’. ‘Adrift’ denotes that we had no ability to steer, which fails to account for our ability to circle Christmas Island, leave the Dragon’s Triangle, almost return to Hawaii or navigate over 2000 miles from our failed attempt to return to Hawaii to reach 7.4km Wake Island.

It was amazing to see people with zero ocean experience talk about whether or not I should have used the EPIRB. Do they know the use of an EPIRB without a sinking boat will most likely get you a fine, jail time and the guaranteed loss of the vessel? People I know have been put in jail, been fined and lost their boat for EPIRB calls that were not deemed true emergencies. Floating boats with food, water and limited navigational capacity are not maritime emergencies.

Another failure to disclose accurate information were the distinctions for the three different types of distress calls, (we only did ONE MAYDAY call – after meeting the fishing vessel - which the US Navy responded to).

The fishing vessel experience was completely obfuscated. When I talked with USCG Sector Guam initially, before I was off the phone with them they had rerouted a Navy War ship to assist us. I don’t expect land people to understand, but female ocean voyagers most certainly know the imminent danger we were in. The ordeal with the fishermen was far more terrifying than anything the ocean threw at us.

These are just a sample of the failures eschewed by the media to paint an inaccurate picture of our experience.

While you may be wondering if the monies requested will go towards a new vessel, it would not even begin to cover the cost to replace the duplicate sets of rigging, motor, two watermakers, sails and gps inside the boat or replace our SV Sea Nymph.

Please help us fund a campaign to nudge the media to play more fairly because the next person they might drag through the mud after a personal disaster by only telling selective pieces of a story could be you.

Thank you for your assistance and consideration.
Valentine, Zeus, Tasha and Jennifer
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We gathered a lot more trolls and hate mail than donations - proof that the media never got the following across:

1) Our planned voyage, that everyone I knew was aware of, was a multi-island long term sailing adventure. It was NOT a one way trip to Tahiti.

2) We were NEVER lost at sea. The US Coast Guard knew of our log prior to the Navy arranging media attention.

3) We were NOT ADRIFT. I do want sailors to know we did have some sail area or jury rig at all times wind was present.

4) The newly rigged starboard spreader began to fail within the first week out to sea on a PORT tack. I made several attempts to rectify this during the course of the trip and was unsuccessful, but did manage patches that allowed us to continue to what I hoped would be a safe harbor to correctly fix the rigger's error. If the rigging hadn't failed none of this would have happened. It is fair to be upset when a newly purchased fails to meet expectations and causes harm.

5) I never made a MAYDAY call. I made pan pan calls when we failed to successfully return to O'ahu, hoping an experienced waterperson in the area might be able to give me a hand fixing the spreader and backstay so that we could continue our journey at speed.

6) The fishing vessel did not 'intend to help us' as reported by the media. They were the reason I called for help. Should one have the fortitude to locate a copy of the initial SAR call where they said there was a collision before it ever happened or the return call when I said, "if you don't get somebody here immediately, we aren't going to make it", the researcher will find a completely different story about our encounter than what has been touted.

7) I am grateful the Navy came to assist us. We were in serious trouble from item #6. The Navy brought a new 4' antenna to attempt to rectify the communications issues, determined the motor could not be started and deemed the boat 'unseaworthy' because we could not get out of the way of either of the typhoons bearing down on us [in our currently rigged state].

8) I own the misstatements about the storm. It was scary and also the most fun I ever had sailing that boat. (Hard to print something saying I am having fun, even when our rescued bodies are healthy and in shape with smiles, if the spin is - lost at sea and struggling to survive.)

9) I own the misstatements about the tiger sharks. I did see tiger sharks during the day but it has since been explained to me by shark experts that the animals we encountered at night were most probably orcas.

10) While on the USS Ashalnd, other than US Coast Guard or media conversations, we had limited outside contact. I thought I had an attorney and PR person doing their jobs. While in Japan Quarantine, I had even less contact with the outside world than on the Navy ship. I was on the Today show within a few hours of landing from a 24 hour series of flights after leaving Japan Quarantine. Nothing during the ocean voyage went as planned nor since our return to the United States.

11) We should all be able to agree that if the new rigging had remained intact, (as evidenced by our navigational ability to circle Christmas Island or locate 7.4km Wake Island), we would have made our primary destination on time and none of the following events would have occurred.

12) We should all be able to agree that if the communications devices hooked up by the electrician were properly operational, this story would have turned out quite differently.

13) One may wonder why I haven't spoken up sooner or more eloquently. I was emotionally distraught from the fishing vessel encounter, elated to be saved, embarrassed for saying things I should not have said to the press and decimated by the subsequent loss of my home.

a) I have had to deal with an individual who fooled everyone and has knowingly continued to perpetrate a hoax theory and non-use of an EPIRB story when there was no need to use an EPIRB to raise questions of credibility in the media even though the US Coast Guard had knowledge of our gps locations prior to the media being unleashed by the Navy.

b) I am dealing with a Daily Mail reporter who failed to check facts to write a libelous article citing a convicted felon in the State of Georgia as their sole source of my sailing ability and private personal history which is why he was moved to Hawaii in 2011.

c) To add insult to injury, I have been dealing with a rigger who has lied to his insurance company. For those who have never had the unfortunate position of hiring a professional who has refused to accept responsibility for their actions which ultimately cause you severe harm, learn from my mistakes.

14) For those who may like to see some Pacific Ocean Sunrises and Sunsets - you may view for free at Shutterfly.


Aloha and Happy Holidays.
Jennifer Appel

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Thank you Mr. Clean for the interview. Longest one we have done and absolute best for teaching me new things that I will use going forward!!!
As promised, I would like to augment the Go Fund Me to ask for money to build a new boat and get back out on the water instead of going after the media for the story. If you are curious about the highlights of our excursion - go listen to the podcast from Sailing Anarchy. You can only get the real deal from them.
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