Good morning. It’s Thursday. We’ll look at an unusual trans-Atlantic voyage that began in Manhattan: one man by himself in a boat. We’ll also look at the settlement of a lawsuit involving Alec Baldwin and the family of the cinematographer who was killed on the set of a movie last year.
A passenger jet can go from New York to where Damian Browne was headed in six hours and five minutes. It took him 112 days.
Browne rowed his way to Ireland in a 23-foot-long boat that flipped over more than once. (“Like being in a washing machine,” he wrote on Instagram.) A former professional rugby player, Browne was said by Irish media to be the first person to make the 2,686-nautical-mile trip from New York to Galway, Ireland, by himself and under his own power. The average speed was just under one knot, or about 1.4 miles per hour.
And one more thing: The Irish Times reported that he cannot swim.
The trip wasn’t like “Ben Hur,” with oarsmen chained to the boat and someone pounding a drum to set the rhythm — there was no one to bang the drum on his vessel, the Cushlamachree.
Nor was the trip like sailing on the Queen Mary 2, with its calorific restaurants. He said his weight loss was “significant” over the first 40 days: “I had no appetite to replenish the thousands of calories burned each day.”
He battled squalls that were “like hitting concrete with the oars” and endured the isolation of the open Atlantic. He went 98 days without seeing anyone but whales or fish.
“I’m fine. I’m safe. It could have been a lot worse,” he said in an Instagram video after “a very tense and stressful night” as he approached Galway on Tuesday. He said the boat had flipped over in 30-to-35-knot winds and slammed against rocks at Na Forbacha, about seven miles from his destination. Worse, one of his oars had snapped in two.
With the boat banging against the rugged coastline as each wave washed in, he clambered out, barefoot, because both of his shoes had been torn off by then, he said. Eventually an emergency services crew arrived and took him to safety.
The unexpectedly rough ending contrasted with his smooth departure from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan in June. Another former rugby player, Fergus Farrell, was with him but had to be airlifted out after 13 days because of health problems.
Browne, who rowed solo from Spain to Antigua in 2018, had gone through “four training sessions on the Hudson, dodging ferries, pleasure craft and barges” before heading out, but they turned out to be unnecessary. “We had a deserted river all to ourselves” on a night that seemed perfect for sightseeing.
“Before we knew it,” he wrote on Instagram, the Cushlamachree had sailed past Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty and under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, “but not before we negotiated a number of stationary cargo ships in the harbor and had a call from the U.S. Coast Guard.”
The Cushlamachree sailed out after a departure-day panic that left him “stressed, exhausted & mentally fried.” The issue was the last-minute purchase of a satellite phone. He could not find one in New York. “Who knew satellite phones would be a rarity in the city that has everything?” he wrote, saying he found “the elusive unit on eBay” in Trenton and made the three-hour trip there and back.
Under the Verrazzano, the Cushla, as he called the boat, “was speeding along at six knots on the outgoing tide.”
Browne braved days when he logged six hours of rowing before 2 p.m., starting as early as 4 a.m. and breaking the time into 90-minute shifts with breaks of 10 to 15 minutes. He also described fighting 15-to-20-knot headwinds as waves lapped over the bow somewhere in the Atlantic.
“Logically I should only go one way and it sure as hell isn’t forward,” he wrote. “But I go forward.”
Enjoy a sunny day near the low 70s, New York. At night it’s partly cloudy, with temps dropping to around the high 50s.
In effect until Monday (Italian Heritage Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Sukkot).
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Baldwin reaches a settlement with the family of the ‘Rust’ cinematographer
The family of the cinematographer who was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin on a movie set in New Mexico last year has agreed to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit against the movie’s producers, including Baldwin.
My colleagues Graham Bowley and Julia Jacobs write that the settlement means production will resume in January with Matthew Hutchins, the widower of the cinematographer who was killed, as executive producer.
The director will be Joel Souza, who was standing near the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, on the set last year when Baldwin practice-fired a gun he had been told did not carry live ammunition. The gun went off, killing her and wounding Souza.
Matthew Hutchins said in a statement that production would “resume with all the original principal players on board.” But lawyers for Hutchins would not say specifically whether Baldwin would return as the star of the film, a Western titled “Rust.”
A spokeswoman for the Santa Fe County district attorney’s office, Heather Brewer, said the settlement in the civil case had no bearing on whether criminal charges would be filed. The district attorney’s office indicated recently, in a request for additional state funding to cover costs that would be incurred if such charges led to high-profile trials, that as many as four people could be charged.
The suit that was settled was filed in February by Hutchins’s husband, her young son and the personal representative of her estate. It accused Baldwin and the other defendants of reckless conduct and cost-cutting measures that endangered the crew, including failing to follow basic industry standard safety checks and gun safety rules.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” a statement on Baldwin’s Instagram account said. A lawyer for Rust Movie Productions, Melina Spadone, said the resolution “marks an important step forward in celebrating Halyna’s life and honoring her work.”
Several others besides the production company and Baldwin were named in the original lawsuit, including Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer, or weapons specialist, on the film; Dave Halls, the first assistant director; and Seth Kenney, a supplier of guns and ammunition for the film. Lawyers for Hutchins would not say whether they were included in the settlement; Jason Bowles, a lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed, said she was grateful that the settlement would benefit the Hutchins family. But Bowles said he was not certain whether the dismissal would apply to Gutierrez-Reed.
Bowles also said he and Gutierrez-Reed were “hopeful that the district attorney’s office will also recognize that a measure of justice has been achieved in regards to this tragic accident, and that they will opt not to pursue criminal charges.”
Baldwin has insisted that he was not to blame in the shooting, saying in a television interview last year that he did not pull the trigger when the gun went off. He said that “someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
That drew a tense response from Matthew Hutchins. “The idea that the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me,” he said.
But Hutchins’s statement on Wednesday said he had “no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame” to Baldwin or any of the other producers.
“All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident,” the statement said.
One more song
I’d give it all back
Just to sit by the window
Watching the lights change
On the Empire State Building
Just once more
From the fourteenth floor
Of the apartment building
Where it was warm
And the thick aroma
Of chicken soup
Made you sing “God Bless America”
In your Slavic accent
As you sent me out the door into
The snow to buy rye bread
On Ninth Avenue
When the moon was full
Surprising the city
With its tireless appearance,
And I’d give it all back
For one more song.
— Kathryn Anne Sweeney-James
Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.
The post He Rowed Across the Atlantic. It Only Took 112 Days. appeared first on New York Times.