Having survived three days adrift roughly 45 miles off the Oregon coast this week, three Pacific Northwest sailors are reportedly very happy to be back on dry land, thanks to assistance from multiple Coast Guard assets.
According to news reports and US Coat Guard Region 13 staff, Captain Marc Winn and his crew, Kathy Nurkowski and Todd Holt, were sailing south from Washington to California aboard the 51-ft sailboat Rogues’ Scholarship when a powerful storm clobbered them Monday, leaving the big sloop with tattered sails, a broken boom, a fouled prop and no steerage.
For three days they drifted under cloudy skies, with batteries too diminished to broadcast a call for help. After skies cleared on the third day, the boat’s solar panel finally generated enough juice for the weary yet uninjured crew to reach Coast Guard watchstanders via their DSC-enabled VHF. The response was impressive: Two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters were dispatched from different Oregon bases, at least one of which put a rescue swimmer in the water to assess the situation and give the sailors a fresh VHF; a C-27J surveillance aircraft out of Air Station Sacramento was sent out to monitor the situation; and the 110-ft cutter Cuttyhunk was sent out from Port Angeles, WA. She towed Rogues’ Scholarship toward Reedsport, OR, eventually handing off the tow to a 47-ft motor life boat from Station Umpqua River.
We haven’t talked to the much-relieved crew, but we’ll bet they’re mentally reviewing each phase of their ordeal and asking themselves how they might have been better prepared for such an emergency or reacted differently to the storm conditions.
If you are among the hundreds of sailors who’ll be sailing offshore this summer or fall, we’d urge you to ask yourself the same questions. And if you have suggestions that could benefit other offshore sailors, we’d love to hear them.
If you’re interested in doing the fourth running of the SoCal Ta-Ta, the Southern California version of the Baja Ha-Ha, don’t delay in signing up as space is limited and 60% of the spots have already been taken. The restriction is a function of limited berthing space at Santa Barbara and Channel Islands harbors.
To review, the Ta-Ta starts in Santa Barbara on Sunday, September 11 with a kick-off party on the beach at the Santa Barbara YC. Make sure you wear your rasta gear, because the theme of the party and the event is ‘Reggae ‘Pon da Ocean’.
The fleet sails to 25-mile-distant Santa Cruz Island on Monday for an overnight. Tuesday can be spent hanging out with friends or exploring Santa Cruz Island, as we enjoy a second night there.
Wednesday is the 18-mile sail to Channel Islands Harbor, where for the last two years the great folks at Vintage Marina and Channel Islands Marina have provided a terrific site for the fleet BBQ — and free berthing for almost the entire fleet!
Thursday is the sail down the beach past County Line and around Pt. Dume to Paradise Cove.
Friday is the 33-mile reach to Two Harbors, Catalina. This is the longest leg of the Ta-Ta. While it is absolutely not a part of the Ta-Ta, rumor is that Kurt and Katie Braun of the Alameda-based Dashew 74 Interlude are threatening to host yet another Buffalo Milk sundowner party on their fabulous yacht.
Saturday is the final BBQ and Awards Party at Two Harbors.
While sailing is encouraged — and we’ve had generally great sailing conditions on most legs of previous Ta-Ta’s — motoring is permitted. After all, this is a cruising rally. The entry fee is $270, and includes a free Reggae ‘Pon da Ocean’ hat for the captain, T-shirt for the Admiral, free dinners at the Santa Barbara YC for the captain and first mate, a free BBQ dinner for the captain and first mate at Channel Islands Marina, and a chance to have a lot of fun.
Profligate, Latitude 38’s 63-ft catamaran, will again be the mothership, with the Wanderer and Dona de Mallorca in charge.
Other than Interlude and Profligate, the largest boat signed up to date is Rick Clemenson and Therese Kosterman’s Beneteau 50 True Blue from Marina del Rey. The smallest is Far Reaching, Jim Hood’s Balboa 27 from Reno. Repeat entries make the Wanderer the most proud, and there are a bunch of them this year. In fact, a number of boats and sailors will be doing their fourth of four Ta-Ta’s.
For further entry information and to register, visit the official website.
Here’s the complete fleet list, to date:
Aeolian / Sceptre 41 / Gerald & Margaret McNaboe / Long Beach
Andiamo / Catalina 30 / Katrien Wohlstattar / Santa Cruz
Avalon / Dufour GL 375 / Andrew Spisak & Jeff Hong / Long Beach
Beach Access / Lagoon 380 / Glenn Twitchell & Debbie Jahn / SoCal
Boomerang / Corsair 31UC / Charles & Elaine VanderBoom / Lake Havasu City, AZ
Daydreams / Pearson 385 / Joseph Day & Melinda Solis-Day / Nevada City
Desperado / Cheoy Lee Offshore 47 / Steve & Teri Reeder / Ventura
Destiny / Catalina 42 / John & Gilly Foy / San Pedro
Di’s Dream / Catalina 470 / Roger & Diana Frizzelle / San Francisco
Doggone / Searunner 40 / Greig & Leslie Olson / Sausalito
Dulcebella / Embroden 37 / Carl & Sheila Eberly / Long Beach
Far Reaching / Balboa 27 / Jim Hood / Reno
Grey Goose / Beneteau Oceanis 390 / Craig Walker & Rose Huerta-Walker / Marina Del Rey
Gypsy Soul / Roberts Offshore 44 / Danny & Marilyn Webb / Grass Valley
Heidi Anne / Islander 36 / Carlos Cadiente / Alameda
Insula / Island Packet 460 / Troy Stone / Saugatuck, MI
Interlude / Deerfoot 74 PH / Kurt & Katie Braun / Georgetown, SC
Jacquot-Bateau / Irwin 38 / Jacques Lorch / Long Beach
Jazzy / Catalina 36 MkII / Roy Johnston / San Francisco
Juliet / Mason 44 / Charles & LeeAnne Clark / Channel Islands
La Cuna / Hunter Passage 42 / PJ Landresse / San Pedro
Lucky Star / Catalina 38 / Norb & Kim Szczurek / Tiburon
Mind Magic / Newport 41 / Dennis & Pamela Young / Seal Beach
Moonlight Lady / Catalina 355 / Owen Provence / Long Beach
RoadTrip / C&C 40 / John West / Emeryville
Running Free / Ericson 38-200 / Don and Christine Taugher / Alamitos Bay
Sabbatical / Valiant 40 / Phil Kumpis / Hermosa Beach
Santana / Catana 411 / Scott Stephens / Channel Islands
Shadowfax / Jeanneau 43 / Steve George / Alamitos Bay
St Somewhere / Beneteau 440 / Pat McCormick / Alamitos Bay
Tempest / Jeanneau 46 Steve & Lauri Moffett Alamitos Bay
True Blue / Beneteau 50 / Rick Clemenson & Therese Kosterman / Marina Del Rey
When Bay Area trimaran sailor Mark Eastham read about the 750-mile Race to Alaska last year he said, "Wow that’s an unbelievably cool or crazy idea." After that first race from Port Townsend, WA, to Ketchikan, AK, Michelle Boroski formed Team Sistership, bought an F-27 and contacted the Bay Area Multihull Association for help because she hadn’t really sailed multihulls much. "A couple of days after Christmas, I took her out for a sail on my boat here to help her with tips about multihull sailing and get the feng shui down," said Mark. "Unfortunately, there was no wind in the Bay, and we just kind of floated around. So she asked me to come up to Port Townsend to race with her in their inaugural race (the Shipwright’s Regatta in February). While I was up there I thought, ‘I’ve got one of these boats. You know what, we’re only getting older. Let’s just do it.’ I put a feeler out for people who were interested in the team."
One of Eastham’s regular crew, Stephane Lesaffre of San Francisco, who was onboard Ma’s Rover when they absolutely smoked the Doublehanded Farallones in March, signed on.
Jeremy Boyette is the third team member. "He sails with one of the best guys in the fleet, Darren Doud. Darren hasn’t been sailing that much this year because he’s doing the Pac Cup with his dad," explained Eastham. "Jeremy’s a wonderful find. We were trying to put together how to attach oars to the boat. He goes, ‘How about if you did this…’ I asked, ‘Are you familiar with this kind of stuff?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I’m an engineer. I can even build the part.’ The thing he built looks like it belongs on a NASA mission to Mars. It’s light as a feather and strong as can be."
The team has been chiseling away at transforming Ma’s Rover from a Bay racer to a long-distance racer. "We don’t want to over-provision or under-provision. And what has me concerned is how do we get in and out of a dock. If it’s filled up there’s really nowhere you can go. Without any propulsion, we get one shot at it. If the wind is up and we have to slow down to come in, we have to drop the sails. With three hulls there’s a lot of windage. They don’t coast like a regular monohull. I thought it would be awesome if we could just anchor. But then should we drag a kayak with us or have an inflatable? And Jeremy says, "No, I’ll just take my Speedo and jump in.’ I said, ‘The water’s like 49°.’ He says, ‘I swim in that all the time. I can swim 500 yards no problem to shore with a dry bag, pick up water, food, whatever we need and swim it back.’ And he’s strong as an ox." Jeremy is an Ironman triathlete.
The F-31 is sailing in support of the Brain Injury Network of the Bay Area. Based in Larkspur, BINBA is a grassroots nonprofit that offers outpatient support and therapies for clients who’ve had strokes, brain trauma, or tumors. Eastham, a neurosurgeon, is on the board of directors. Each year he donates a sail on the Bay and a picnic aboard Ma’s Rover to be auctioned off at the annual gala. If Team It Ain’t Brain Surgery wins the first-place prize of $10,000, they’ll donate it to BINBA. T-shirts are available for a $250 contribution and feature the logo and a quote from Helen Keller: "Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure… or nothing."
Mark says that the art was designed by the brain-injured clients. "So everything’s working together like a nice little package deal." Donations can be made through binba.org (reference the Race to Alaska). The race will start from Port Townsend on June 23, and donors, patients and fans will be able to follow the team via GPS tracker on www.r2ak.com.