Sailor Searches for Missing De-Salinator

Tom McNally is no stranger to tight spots. Take, for instance, his record-breaking Atlantic crossing in 1993 aboard the 5'4 1/2" Vera Hugh. This fall, he plans to break small-craft records again in the 3'11" Vera Hugh II in the so-called Atlantic Challenge to sail the smallest boat ever across the Atlantic.

However, Tom's greatest challenge at present is locating his missing de-salinator. In 1998, after completing the first leg of his crossing, Tom stopped in Gran Canaria so that Vera Hugh II might undergo repairs. Called back to the UK for an emergency, Tom left his de-salinator in the custody of a Dutch couple whose sloop, Grace, was also undergoing repairs at the time. Various postponments kept Tom away, and in the interim Grace moved on. Whether her owners maintain custody of the de-salinator, or if it was passed along to the care of another, is unknown.

After years of delays, Tom is now ready to undergo his voyage, but he’s missing this essential and expensive piece of equipment. Specially designed to accommodate the miniature vessel, the de-salinator is a costly and difficult item to replace.

Tom's agent Dave Clapham, maintaining "an explicit trust in the integrity of the yachting fraternity," wishes to enlist the help of anyone who is familiar with the sloop Grace or who might know of the whereabouts of the missing item.

Information may be sent to Dave via email at

This is one tight spot that Tom would like to get out of.