Sunday, May 31, 2009

The French Menace...

French oarsman Charlie Girard failed for a third time yesterday in his quixotic quest to row to France from Cape Cod. And US taxpayers are $80,000 poorer.

That's the cost of dispatching a Coast Guard jet and helicopter to a 21-foot, custom-designed rowboat bobbing 150 miles off Cape Cod, where Girard called it quits 10 days into his latest aborted adventure.

Fearful and cold in a menacing fog, Girard used a satellite phone to place an 8:25 a.m. distress call to the Coast Guard in Boston.

"I can't do anything," Girard, 28, said in a weak, breaking voice. "I'm cold, and I don't know what to do."
So, to summarize...the frog gave up for the third time. The US came to his rescue for the third time...and we taxpayers foot the bill every time Frenchman, Charlie Girard wants a little attention...(hmmm...sounds familiar).

"He is well," his website chronicler reported that day. "He becomes used more and more to the life on Caliste. He sleeps better now. A bird accompanied some hours on Saturday. He saw two boats."

The site appealed, in awkwardly translated English, for donations to help Girard "beat the record of the world of the crossing by rows the North Atlantic ocean."

By making a contribution, the appeal continued, "you will allow Charlie to close the budget and you will participate in an exceptional adventure."

On his website, where he says he comes from the Deux-Sèvres region in the west of France, he describes himself as "not a sea man . . . contrary to the previous adventurers, he has only coastal navigation experiences."
Who else is a cynic and thinks ole' Chuck is cashing in by taking in donations, starting a journey, and then calling it off after a short period to pocket the proceeds? Maybe...maybe not...but:

Girard will not be billed for the $80,000 expense, which includes six hours of total air time for the jet and helicopter, and the cost of support crews. Petty Officer Etta Smith, a Coast Guard spokeswoman in Boston, said policy is to use taxpayer money to pay for rescues.
Effin' French...