PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Coast Guard rescued five people Friday from a sailboat after the sailboat's mast broke approximately 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth received notification at approximately 1:50 p.m. that the 55-foot catamaran Rain Maker, homeported in Manhattan, New York, suffered a broken mast in approximate 40-mph winds and 13-foot seas roughly 200 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and prepared to launch aircrews to respond.
The crew aboard the approximately 350-foot cargo ship Ocean Crescent responded to the UMIB, stating they were located approximately 40 miles from the distressed sailboat and were diverting to respond.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and a C-130 Hercules airplane crew, both from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, were launched at about 3:20 p.m.
The Ocean Crescent crew arrived on scene at approximately 4:05 p.m. and unsuccessfully attempted to come alongside Rain Maker.
The Coast Guard helicopter crew arrived on scene at approximately 5 p.m. and hoisted all five people. The five boaters were transported to Dare County Regional Airport in Manteo, North Carolina, and arrived at approximately 8:10 p.m. in good condition.
Pictured left is the Gunboat 55 from last fall's launch.
“The mission today was challenging for our crews due to the distance from shore and the weather conditions,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Allen Facenda, an operations specialist in Portsmouth who worked on the case. “The crew we rescued had a registered and up-to-date emergency position indicating radio beacon that told us their exact position. All five people were wearing life jackets and were prepared to abandon their vessel in a life raft. We were happy to get there before that became necessary.”
Charles Doane, who was rescued this time last year, provides his insight here.