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saving sailors

saving sailors

It’s been a hell of a tragic year for sailing, and we figure now is as good a time as any to highlight some good news. Here’s a rescue report from some Long Island Sound racing with the folks from Oakcliff Sailing:

Nearing the first top mark of the last race of the day on Sunday, the winds were solid 20 and gusting near 30. The racing had been getting more and more competitive so the bulk of the 12-strong Class One were in the vicinity. The crew on Pendragon were hiking hard when the fitting on the lower lifeline let go and the two people hiking the hardest were immediately ejected straight into the ocean. Neither were wearing a life jacket.

The two in the water raised their hand to indicate that they were OK. The water was in the low 50s so they were also getting cold rapidly. Pendragon went head to wind and started to drop their headsail and began to get sorted to turn around. In the meantime, Oakcliff Farr 40-1 steered by Mark DiSanti sailed up to leeward of the two and went head to wind. As Jacon threw a horseshoe and the throwing line which was attached to the back of the boat, the rest of the team dropped the jib and managed the mainsheet to maintain position. The horseshoe reached one swimmer and the throwing line the other. The team pulled the first person to the boat and started to haul him on board. His foul weather gear bibs acted like a big sea anchor so he slipped the straps off and let the pants go down to his ankles. This allowed for Dan & Jeff to pull him on board but if he had been dropped it would have been dangerous.

The Farr 40 was in the process of getting the second person when a Race Committee RIB arrived on the scene and both swimmers were transferred to the RIB and then back to their boat. Pendragon retired from racing. The Oakcliff Farr 40-1 resumed racing and finished the race. They then asked for redress which was given so they ended up with average points for the regatta.

We were on the 11.3 watching the incident from a ways away and I was very proud of the Oakcliff team and their reaction. I was also glad that most of our team was wearing their Spinlock PFDs so that if that had happened to us, our sailors would not have been at risk.

Lesson Learned: Safety takes pre-planning and education and vigilance by the whole team. Congratulations to: Jacon, Mark, Bob, Jeff, Laura, Jim, Sue, Dan and Brock on a job well done