ISLETON (CBS13) – A local man is sailing solo from San Francisco to Panama, despite the fact that he’s just learned how to sail a boat.

He says that he’s got to do it in the next three months or he’ll never do it again.

Jefrey Gomes is dying of cancer.

For the last couple weeks, at the Spindrift Marina on the Delta, he has been hard at work fixing his sailboat, mapping out his route and getting advice on how to navigate his trip out at sea to Panama.

“It’s real new to me, and I’m not real experienced, and I don’t have a lot of the gear and stuff,” said Gomes.

When some listen to this inexperienced sailor talk about his plan, they try to convince him not to go, but then he tells them why no is not an option.

“I’m normally a very, very energetic person,” said Gomes.

Nearly four years ago, doctors diagnosed him with blood cancer and he has lived with it OK, until seven months ago.

“They said I’d be lucky if I made it until Christmas,” said Gomes.

The clock is ticking, he says.

He has sailed once before and loved it; so he decided to buy a boat and sail away.

“It relaxes me. It takes a lot of the stress and the worries away,” said Gomes.

Gomes says his family thinks he’s a little crazy for spending his final months out at sea, but he says it’s his last great adventure.

“My family, they all support me. They all wish that I’d stay here, but I’ve explained to them that, I mean, I don’t want my last days being in a hospital,” said Gomes.

The plan is for his wife to be in Panama when he reaches shore, but Gomes is still not sure how it’ll end. He just knows how it begins.

“I’d like to make it here, but with the time that I have left, I don’t know if I’ll make it there,” said Gomes.

Gomes plans to sail away on October 7; and if you would like to reach out to him, you can contact him at


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