For years, James ‘Hot Rod’ Lane had dreamed of sailing to Hawaii on his homebuilt boat, then living the good life afloat in some friendly anchorage. That dream ended today, as Lane and his crew were air-evacuated from the 65-ft Flyin’ Hawaiian catamaran 120 miles west of Monterey, and the huge, unconventional craft was left to drift. According to the Coast Guard, she had been taking on water; sea conditions at the time have yet to be clarified.
Activation of a crewperson’s personal locator device this morning after 8 a.m. triggered a Search and Rescue (SAR) response that included flyovers by a Coast Guard C-17 and a C-130 aircraft, the diversion of the 831-ft tanker Aqualeader to the scene, and activation of three CG helicopters — one from San Francisco and two out of L.A. After the sailors were unable to transfer to the tanker, all five crew were reportedly hoisted to safety within the waiting helicopters and flown to the mainland. None suffered injuries.
Although the trip was a failure, we hope Lane can take some comfort in knowing that he at least got his self-designed creation out into the open ocean. Since the cat’s launch in May 2013 at San Rafael’s Loch Lomond Marina, he’d had numerous problems maneuvering her, and keeping her moored without dragging. If you happen to spot this vessel offshore, please alert the Coast Guard to its whereabouts: (510) 437-3700.