Thursday, October 29, 2009

Alameda Sailing Yacht Capsizes in Ha Ha

ALAMEDA, Calif. — An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station San Diego rescued five people after their sail boat capsized 197 miles southwest of San Diego, Wednesday morning.

The Coast Guard received a distress signal from a 406-MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon registered to the Crosswave, a 40-foot sail boat, homeported in Marina Village here, participating in the Baha Ha Ha race, shortly after 10 a.m.

A helicopter was launched from Air Station San Diego, and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Sacramento provided long range coverage.

Once on scene, the helicopter crew found the five people in a life raft, and subsequently hoisted them into the helicopter. The rescued sailors are Eugenie Russell, a Coast Guard licensed master from Alameda, Calif.; Barry Demak, a Coast Guard licensed master from Oakland, Calif.; Raymond Quinn, sailing student; Mark McKinnon, sailing student and Judy Land, sailing student.

One of the rescued individuals had a minor hand injury. All five people arrived safely in San Diego at 4 p.m.

The Baha Ha Ha is sailboat race from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, that began Monday.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. The area where the accident and rescue occurred was experiencing gale force winds.

This is a boat out of the J-World fleet skippered by professionals who are prepared for something like this. Here is a link to their website recruiting folks to pay for the trip. Link. Wonder if they get a refund?

Update: Many of you have probably read the posts this week about the start of the annual Baja Haha race from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. This race is well attended with nearly 200 boats in the flotilla heading south of here. One of the Sailing vessels had become the attraction of a pod of whales. It is believed that one of the whales had flipped its tail and the tail struck the ruder post damaging the rudder (or removing it). The vessel began taking on water and reportedly sank in 7 minutes. Five people were on board and all had life preservers and a life raft was deployed along with an EPIRB. The vessel was 200 miles south of San Diego when it sank. San Diego area Coast Guard responded and plucked all five from the water and returned them home to SD safe and sound (and wet). The efforts of the Coast Guard were difficult since our area also experienced some very usual high winds yesterday wherein coastal winds were 25-35 knots. All in all a happy ending and a reminder that even an innocuous party fest as the Baja Haha can turn tragic if not taken seriously. This is Grey Whale migrating season and having a pod around you and the associated danger it could pose should be anticipated.

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