A heavy duty Edson emergency manual pump and an abundance of determination
saved the life, and the race, for single-handed Transatlantic sailor,
Petersen was competing in the 1996 Europe I Star, an annual single-handed
race across the Atlantic, in his 40 foot home-built yacht, "Protect Our
Sealife". Eleven days into the race a Russian freighter rammed the bow
of Sealife, causing severe damage.
Seawater flooded the first of three water-tight compartments of the vessel.
Petersen assessed the damage. First he tried a preplumbed manual bilge
pump, but it could not handle the job. He also tried to repair the hull,
but he was unsuccessful. He then remembered the heavy duty emergency hand
pump that Edson International had given to him in a previous race. He
bolted the Edson pump to the bulkhead and found it could move one gallon
of water with each stroke, which cut the amount of time he had to pump
to less than fifteen minutes per hour. It took 250-300 strokes to empty
the compartment each time.
The Edson pump enabled Petersen to stay in the race. Said Petersen, "It
was a tough decision ... the excessive demands it was placing on my Edson
pump left me uneasy--the pump was my only assurance of making landfall."
"Protect Our Sealife" crossed the finish line on July 12, 1996 in third
place beating his previous time by three days. "None of this would have
been possible without that Edson pump", said an exhausted Petersen.