Mike Plant was an American sailor and adventurer born in Minnesota in 1950. He's known for winning the 'BOC Challenge' in 1986-1987 in the class II (50 feet), and for completing two other single-handed around the world races. Tragically, Mike was lost at sea in late October 1992 as he was en route, solo, from his Newport RI base to Les Sables d'Olonne where he was due to start in the 'Vendée Globe' a few weeks later.
Mike Plant started sailing on Lake Minnetonka in Minessota at an early age, and won several local club races through his teen years. After trekking the length of South America and other adventures in his 20s, he "settled" in Jamestown, Rhode Island, and built a 50 feet yacht for the purpose of entering the second BOC Challenge in 1986; In 1989 he competed in the first Vendee Globe, and although he completed the race, in 135 days, he was disqualified for receiving assistance in New Zealand to address some mechanical issues with the rudder of his boat, 'Airco Distributor'. In 1990-1991, aboard Open 60' 'Duracell' he takes 4th place in the 'BOC Challenge', behind the "French Navy" (Auguin, Gauthier and Jeantot who stole the podium that year). With three, in race, solo circumnavigations, Mike was undeniably part of the elite club and many long time ocean racing enthusiasts as well as new spectators of the sport, particularly in America, intended to follow closely the performance of 'Coyote' and its skipper in the Vendée Globe.
There is little information about Mike Plant's fateful voyage and what may have caused this tragedy; his last contact was on Oct 21st, by way of a battery-powered VHF radio, with 'SKS Trader' a tanker ship to whom Mike reported a 3 days long electrical outage, but also indicated his hope of getting things fixed soon. On October 27th Coyote's EPIRB distress signal was received by both US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) and Canadian Mission Control Center (CMCC), but because of the short duration of the signal and and registration problems with the EPIRB beacon, the alert wasn't forwarded to the Coast Guard for lack of actionable information. Upon insistence from friends and family, starting on November 13th, a search is organized from Bermuda, targeting an area estimated by the CMCC. The search is area is later expanded, to the North of the Azores. On November 22nd, by 46º54'N 26º51'W (that is roughly halfway on a line between St Pierre & Miquelon and Bordeaux) a tanker ship locates the upside-down hull of Coyote, its keel intact but without its ballast tip. The search is officially ended three days later when a French tug arrives alongside 'Coyote' and divers find the life raft and survival gear.aboard. ' Coyote', freed of its rigging is eventually salvaged and brought to shore.