Saving gear during Coast Guard rescue

Saving gear during Coast Guard rescue

Post by Eyes4Hi » Tue, 21 Apr 1998 04:00:00

I remember that last Fall I read rec.windsurfing posts from a sailor who was
helicopter rescued at Third Avenue and lost his gear. He sounded a bit miffed
and seemed to feel they should have taken his gear as well or that he should
not have been pressured into taking the rescue. I'm not one to second guess the
Coast Guard since they do not know if you are hypothermic or generally unable
to assess you're situation... especially since a sailor died on the bay last
year after repeatedly declining offers of assistance.

I talked with some Coast Guard Petty Officers (the guys and gals who ride the
inflatable boats) at the SFBA party on Friday and they told me that during the
3/28/98 rescues at Third Avenue they did a helicopter rescue where gear was
left in the water. They attached a strobe to the gear and a Coast Guard boat
recovered the gear later that night. I'm impressed that they took the time. I'm
sure in some cases they wouldn't stay in a hover that long when there may be
other calls pending or fuel concerns, but there is no reason that those of us
who carry strobes (which is hopefully most of us who sail more than a mile
offshore in the afternoons and evenings) couldn't strap our own strobe onto our
gear once it is clear that we have been spotted. Based on battery life I'd
guess that you'd have the one night to find you're gear, but it beats trying to
find you're gear without any clues at all.



Saving gear during Coast Guard rescue

Post by NLW TFW » Tue, 21 Apr 1998 04:00:00

The State Parks rescue boat operator seemed relieved at what he found when he
arrived to save my ***after my mast broke one December:
* A swimmer encased head to toe in neoprene, fully alert and still energetic
after a couple of hours in the water in chilly conditions.
* One single, solid, compact, neatly-tied bundle including sinker, mast halves,
boom, and sail, all of which he lifted into the boat with one hand in one
motion as I climbed into his big boat unassisted.

Depending on the hoist configuration or even the boat size used to pick up a
sailor, I'd guess the sailing gear configuration makes a big difference in its
outcome. After all, its problems are size, cumbersomeness, and hydrodynamic and
aerodynamic drag more than its weight. A compact, solid, 8-foot-long, 40-pound
bundle with a boom as a handle is probably pretty quick and easy to rescue,
especially with the assistance of a fresh, alert sailor.

Once a sail becomes useless for whatever reason, both self-rescue and rescue by
others can become easier once we break down the rig and tie it into a solid
bundle with the outhaul, downhaul, uphaul, U-Haul, extra-haul, spare-haul, etc.

Of course, if the wind comes back up after we derigged because a lull stranded
us, we're not going to be happy. Rigging from scratch offshore, without losing
a part, is a major challenge even in a calm lake. It pays to know the weather
patterns that day, to help in the derig decision. When a front passes over at
midday and drops the wind by 40 knots, I'll just wait it out rather than derig
or slog a sinker a mile or two. The wind will return, even harder, in anything
from 15 minutes to an hour or two. Nap time!

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind