o you see him?” I asked. “Nope. Only birds and rocks,” Tyler replied, his eyes still glued to the backside of the binoculars. “Blast the horn again,” he said. Inhaling deeply, I blew on the orange safety horn as loudly as possible, as if I could will the missing sailor to appear from the nearly vertical guano-covered rocks before us. Despite my best efforts, Guo Chuan did not appear; the horn blast only further excited the brown boobies and storm petrels who looked down on our 46-foot racing sailboat with curiosity. Scouring the remote Northwest Hawaiian Islands in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, our search was the final effort to find the missing Chinese racing sailor Guo Chuan, who had fallen overboard from his maxi-trimaran, Qingdao China, while attempting to establish a world sailing record between San Francisco and Shanghai. We had known since leaving Honolulu that the chances of finding him at all, let alone alive, were somewhere between slim and none. Against the odds, our crew clung to the hope that we would achieve the impossible and miraculously find him. Some 500 miles northwest of Kauai, we found ourselves in one of the most remote and thoroughly unlivable spots on earth: the Gardner Pinnacles. It was here that our search would come to its conclusion and we would begin our trip back home with a late-December weather window that looked anything but certain. Almost as far as you can possibly get from a continental landmass, we were completely exposed to the elements, with no safe harbor nearby. Winter storm systems brewed above while multiple swells impacted the sea state. If we were lucky, we’d be back in port by Christmas morning. If we were unlucky, we’d sail in light air before bashing upwind into the winter trades.