Rescued sailor, 75, plans to head back out to sea

December 17, 2009 3:49:00 PM PST
A 75-year-old man pulled from Gulf waters by the U.S. Coast Guard earlier this week is now telling his story. After a trip that could have cost him his life, the survivor wants to take the trip again. We first told you about the rescue Tuesday when Kenneth Ketchum was rescued by helicopter after 10 days on the water.

It's the story of the older man and the sea and the amazing thing is he's alive to tell it.

It took gale force winds during a storm in the Gulf, a dying engine and the loss of his eyeglasses to make Kenneth Ketchum send out a distress call to the Coast Guard Tuesday. He had been in trouble for more than a week -- a lot of trouble.

"I can recall at least five times I hit my head out there. It's just an accumulative thing and each time it does it makes me slower and slower to respond to something about the boat that needs taking care of," said Ketchum.

At 75, Ketchum realized his dream of buying a boat, a 32-foot cutter. His plan was to sail to Mexico alone.

"It's the challenge of doing it, the sense of accomplishment each day that you do it," Ketchum said.

Despite the dizziness that plagues him, this retiree who prefers the solitary life at sea, plans to pick up his voyage where he left off when he finds his boat in the Gulf.

"Once you lose your sense of adventure, from my perspective, once you lose your sense of adventure, they might as well start shoveling dirt in your face," said Ketchum.

The one concession he is willing to make is to take on a sailing partner to help with the work.


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