End Is Near At Sea – Reaching out to California with Coast Guard Cutter CG-95318

With the new propeller installed and all leaks cleaned up, Yasme III sailed from Acapulco on January 05, 1961 bound for San Diego, some 1,250 miles to the northwest. KV4AA was asking “whether this trip will be free of hardships and near disasters, which had been haunting Yasme III over the past two months?”

Only after sixty miles out at sea the exhaust pipe of the Onan diesel generator decided to fail. After working on the problem under massive seas and surf, it was clear that there was no option but to turn back. Next the fate decided to cast its evil spell on the main engine. It had been ticking over nicely but now responded with retreating oil pressure, heat and various grunts and clanks. It was simply gone!

Another emergency call from Yasme and the US Coast Guard cutter was sent out from San Diego. After considerable effort they were unfortunately not able to locate Yasme. So another aircraft was dispatched and finally Danny was located and Yasme was ultimately towed to Shelter Island, San Diego on January 21, 1961. This is about three months after they had left Ecuador and the South American Coast.

Here is the statement made by KV4AA at the time: “Unless there is a substantial and unexpected change in our fortunes, before the deadline of February 25, 1961, we will have no alternative but to dissolve the Foundation, and repair and sell Yasme to cover our debts.”

But there was another statement up in the air… “If Danny does resume his world cruise, his wife Naomi will not accompany him! In such an event, all efforts will be made to recruit one or two other operators to accompany Danny during the voyage.”

Straight and simple! I am sure that while carrying hairy DXers over the seas, thoughts about homeless Naomi and her whereabouts would sprout in everyone’s mind.” (note from author)

As Yasme III indeed needed expensive repairs, the couple rented an apartment which was Danny’s first home at the age of 42. Danny also signed up for a full time job at the Tool and Machine workshop. The company also provided valuable assistance during off hours to get Yasme III back on to the water. It needs to be stated clearly that Danny was a brilliant mechanic and was able to carry the entire re-fit with his own skills and with a minimum of funding.

Massive collection efforts were also re-established for which Yasme Foundation also got its non-profit, 501 (c)(3) status by the IRS on January 7, 1961. There were also substantial donations received from W2BIB and others.

The San Diego DX Club circulated a letter for further collection of funds and in the letter they listed at least forty (40) rare spots, with several potential new ones. And indeed the club received a few greenback notes even from those hams with a watery dipole! There were (and still are) some real DXers and believers in San Diego.

One strong element in Danny’s support was his personality and willingness to produce. “At risk of life and limb he does put rare DX spots on the air. His operating procedures are rapid and efficient,” was one supporting statement. How come this sailor can suddenly develop such incredible operating skills?

On January 2021 we asked Don Karvonen, K8MFO one of Danny’s keen followers of those days. “This is what I recall with my aging memory cells,” he said. “Danny always used a keyer and I recall him being very accurate, working at speeds between 25–30 WPM and identifying frequently but not for each QSO. He used his receiver dial a lot and would reward those who called a bit above or below the main pileup. His QSOs were snappy and short and I never had a doubt whether I was in the log or not. His confirming was straight and to the point: K8MFO dit dit!”

Naomi had hinted she had enough sailing and towing and so Doug, W6HVN, committed to join Danny. To put an end to this San Diego episode from January 21, 1961, to November 29, 1961, some 10 months later, the news broke out: “Danny sailed from San Pedro, California on November 29, 1961, and a few days later he was reported some 400 miles southwest of Los Angeles and scheduled to arrive at Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands around Christmas!” Danny had sailed with Naomi on board and W6HVN, together with other candidates, disappeared from the scene.

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