RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Coast Guard crews from the Tar Heel state helped rescue a man from an adrift and disabled sailing yacht 270 miles off the North Carolina coast last week, officials said.
The rescue effort comes just two weeks after two sailing yachts were shipwrecked at the Outer Banks — one now buried beneath sand and the other left on the beach after running aground.
The sailing vessel in which the rescue took place left Jersey City, New Jersey, en route to Bermuda earlier this month, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard.
The family of the man aboard the Windward Passage boat lost contact with the sailboat on Nov. 6 and as of Nov. 14, the man was overdue.
A signal was sent to boats in the Atlantic and the captain of a ship called the Time Bandit heard the information.
The Time Bandit then “happened upon” an adrift sailing vessel with tattered sails and a missing boom, matching the description of the overdue mariner.
“Due to on-scene conditions, the Coast Guard advised against an at-sea transfer” from the disabled yacht to Time Bandit, the news release said.
The captain of the Time Bandit let the Coast Guard know the location of the Windward Passage.
The good Samaritan later wrote about the encounter, noting the seas were rough and the captain on the disabled boat didn’t even appear to notice them when they were just a boat length away.
“Given the state of the boat and its skipper, our guess is he suffered a knockdown,” Stuart Letton, captain of the Time Bandit wrote.
Letton said the Windward Passage’s anchor was adrift and was dragging from the bow.
“The main boom and mainsail had been torn off and was now being towed astern as an extremely effective drogue,” Letton wrote on his blog. “One of the saloon windows was smashed as was a deck hatch. Things weren’t looking good.”
The Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson arrived on Wednesday and took the sailor aboard.
“The mariner was transported in stable condition and reunited with family Thursday,” the news release said.
An HC-130 Hercules and an MH-60 helicopter — both from Elizabeth City — were dispatched to help in the search and rescue.
“We are pleased that this case resulted in a family reunion,” said Cmdr. Wes Geyer, search and rescue mission coordinator, Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “The search area for this case was nearly twice the size of Texas and the seas are very unforgiving.”