San Diego, CA, USA
Posted on January 26, 2020 by Steve
A close friend and I were sailing his recently bought catamaran (an older custom fiberglass beach cat 30′) from Long Beach to San Diego. The first day went smooth sailing from Long beach to Dana Point. That night my son (9 yrs old) joined the crew in Dana point to sail with us the second leg of the journey. All three of us are what I would consider seasoned sailors with thousands of ocean miles logged.
We were directly on the Rhub line, heading South with the wind and swell directly on our Port beam. As the winds picked up, we reefed the main. As we crested a swell wave the boat turned up unexpectedly and was knocked down. I came to the surface just in time to see my son in the companion way of a boat turning turtle. We were approx 12 miles from shore.
First Thought: we are all swimming and separated. Make a human chain.
Next Thought: Get to the boat. It was fully turtled by this point.
Shelter in place. Assess. The ditch bag, with the EPIRB and PLB, is gone.
About 10 minutes after getting to the boat, we see a floating handheld radio pop up from the boat. Swim and Retrieve.
Hail USCG San Diego.
Move every 10 min or so to the opposite side of the boat. We’re to heavy and slowly sinking her with our own body weight.
Shelter in place.
Hail USMC Osprey flying above. No Luck. They head back to base.
Shelter in Place.
Communicate with USCG Sector San Diego.
Hail 2nd USMC Osprey flying above. Wait…They respond and turn South! Hail again. They respond again and turn West!
A few seconds later the Osprey is circling our location.
Next we see a USCG Cutter, the USS Robert Ward turn from having us on his beam to pointing directly at our location following the Opsrey circling us.
Oddly enough the USS Robert Ward informed us they were responding to the EPIRB beacon going off and were not aware of the radio traffic between us and USCG sector San Diego. We thought the EPIRB was gone with the ditch bag! Somehow, it got caught in some gear and was floating with the turtled boat all along.
We are all grateful to be alive as we didn’t have a lot longer in that 59 degree water.
Words of wisdom
Always have an EPIRB when going offshore and ALWAYS tether a GPS enabled Radio to your person
Thank you note
Thank You for making the reliable equipment. My son is still alive thanks to you
San Diego, CA, USA
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