At approximately 0151 July 15, 2019 nearly 200 miles offshore the California coast, the sailing vessel OEX was competing in the 2019 Transpac Race to Honolulu. OEX was sailing with a full reef, jib and stay sail. At this moment, we experienced catastrophic rudder system failure tearing a large hole in the hull of the boat. We were rapidly taking on water. We tried to plug the hole with no success. Brendan Busch radioed a Mayday and the crew of Pyewacket diverted to us. The OEX crew of Erik Berzins, Ryan Breymaier, Brendan Busch, Mat Bryant, Chuck Clay, John Sangmeister, Randy Smith, John Turpin, Greg Weeger remained calm and made a heroic attempt to save the boat. With waves breaking over the transom into the cockpit and the Pyewacket in sight, I ordered the crew to enter the rafts and abandon ship at 0220.
We are grateful to the United States Coast Guard and the entire crew of Pyewacket for their efforts on our behalf. We have known Roy and his crew for over 35 years both as team mates and competitors. We hold them in the highest esteem both on and off the water. Their rescue of the OEX crew came at an extremely high personal price–their retirement from the Transpac race.
The rescue of the OEX crew was effected with the highest level of seamanship. Both teams worked calmly and efficiently and with tremendous cooperation. Once aboard we were welcomed graciously and the Pyewacket crew made every effort to accommodate us.
On behalf of the OEX crew I would like to nominate Roy Disney and the entire crew of Pyewacket for US Sailing’s Hanson award which recognizes significant accomplishments in seamanship and valor. I have included the names of the entire crew in hope that each will be acknowledged for their effort and sacrifice.
Here is the crew list of Pyewacket:
Thank you or your consideration of this nomination.
Owner Skipper S/V OEX