One man's 21-day voyage of redemption — 12 years in the making - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

One man's 21-day voyage of redemption — 12 years in the making

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Early Wednesday afternoon, John Silverwood rounded the corner into Kaneohe Yacht Club, marking the end of a 2,700 mile journey. 

But unlike most long-distance voyages, this trip was about more than adventure.

"I was redeemed. I feel really great. I do," said Silverwood.

Twelve years ago, Silverwood was shipwrecked off the coast of Tahiti with his family on board.

"We hit a submerged reef and the boat was broken into pieces and the mast cut my leg off," Silverwood said.

"I'm the captain right? And that was my responsibility. I shipwrecked that boat and I endangered the lives of my wife and all four of my kids and that has hung over my head forever."

So Silverwood, who wrote a book about the ordeal with his wife, called this a voyage of redemption.

Completing the solo journey helped the 65-year-old sailor let go of the past. Despite some very long days and even equipment failure, he managed to sail from San Diego to Kaneohe in 21 days and 19 hours.

"This was not a race to me. It was just slow, steady, safe," the amputee said.

Silverwood said the weather was good overall, and so was the fishing. But he did run into some electrical issues halfway through the trip.

"I go well it's time to start the engine. And I go to start the engine and the engine doesn't start," said Silverwood.

He managed to jerry-rig an old generator, allowing him to recharge the boat's batteries.

Silverwood says successfully overcoming obstacles is part of what helped him break free from the accident that's haunted him for more than a decade. 

"I realized that weight had been lifted off my shoulders," said Silverwood.

Silverwood told Hawaii News Now his first order business now that he's back on land is to take a long shower and eat a good meal.

Over the past three weeks, he's had to use dish soap and a pot to bathe.

While he did catch some fish, Silverwood says he ate a lot of eggs and oatmeal while at sea. 

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