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Apster Adrift After Skipper Rescued

Somewhere off the Central Coast of California, the 31-ft wooden sloop Apster may still be adrift after her skipper was rescued on Christmas Day.

After receiving faint radio calls for rescue from the vessel’s unnamed solo crewman, who gave his position as 75 miles southwest of Monterey, the Coast Guard launched a search-and-rescue helicopter, sent out the cutter Sockeye, and diverted both the 734-ft bulk carrier Medi Venezia and the towing vessel Vision to assist. The sloop was reportedly taking on water and in danger of sinking. 

Once the boat was located, the skipper, believed to be a Canadian, was airlifted to safety. Apster was not scuttled, and by now may have traveled several hundred miles down the coast with prevailing winds and currents. Photos indicate she had her staysail up, plus a triple-reefed main. The skipper reportedly was able to diminish the inflow of water (from an unspecified source) by the time rescuers arrived. 

Video Courtesy US Coast Guard

 Apster was built by master shipwright Dan Jones, and was sold to a Canadian about five years ago. 

"She was in as near perfect shape as she could be," wrote Peter Strietmans, who knows the boat intimately. "I saw her a couple of months ago . . . She was built to be a 100-year boat, no short cuts." Many in the classic boat community are hopeful that this one-of-a-kind vessel can still be found and retrieved. 

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