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A Tale of Two Rescues

Bonvivant’s dinghy can be seen on deck, ready to launch if the mast punched a hole in the hull.

© USCG PO1 Christopher Evanson

Florida news outlets are reporting that Richard Steg, 73, was rescued 50 miles off Jacksonville Beach on Wednesday, two days after his 35-ft sloop Bonvivant was dismasted and her engine died. Steg was sailing north to Connecticut after buying Bonvivant a few weeks ago. He set off from Ponce de Leon Inlet near St. Augustine on Sunday, but encountered heavy weather on Monday, which caused the damage. Miraculously, he was able to put out several maydays, at least one of which was picked up by a passing tugboat and relayed to the Coast Guard. After searching Tuesday night, Bonvivant was finally spotted Wednesday morning. The boat and her skipper were towed into port without incident, and Steg was reportedly uninjured.

“There was never any panic,” a salty Richard Steg told WJXT News when he stepped ashore Wednesday. “As a matter of fact, I love being out there. Other than not having a mast.”

© USCG PO1 Christopher Evanson

On the same day but all the way across the Pond, French rescuers safely pulled off all seven crewmembers aboard Tony Bullimore’s Spirit of Antigua after the 108-ft cat capsized in the Bay of Biscay. Bullimore was not aboard. “There wasn’t that much wind — only about 15 knots," an unidentified crewmember is reported as saying. "We were sailing fast and close to the wind. We then had a big gust and because it’s a multihull, the apparent wind induces a much worse effect. So the boat powered up very quickly. At the same time, the windward hull came off a wave, which got the hull lifting out. The rudder stalled. We couldn’t get the sheet off quickly enough so we couldn’t depower the boat.” An effort to salvage the boat has been launched.

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After completing one race today, the Cal Maritime Keelhaulers have locked up fifth place overall in the ’10 Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle.