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More on the DH Farallones Rescue

As of yesterday afternoon, the Coast Guard was still broadcasting a "Local Notice to Mariners" for Pteradactyl, which has been sailing on its own since owner Luc de Faymoreau and crewman Disun Den Daas were washed overboard when a "freak wave" pitchpoled the boat on the way home from last Saturday’s Doublehanded Farallones Race. The currently unmanned Olson 40 with a dark green hull is still out there but, thanks to the rescue efforts of some fellow mariners, de Faymoreau and Den Daas are still around to tell about it.

Paul Martson, crew on Dean Daniels’ Hobie 33 Sleeping Dragon, snapped this shot of the sea state during last weekend’s Doublehanded Farallones Race. Note the tiny scrap of main of the boat ahead of them peeking above a wave.

© Paul Martson

"We were in the cockpit, relaxed and eating — we were sailing downwind doing about 10-12 knots with bursts to 14 or 15," de Faymoreau said. The two were not clipped in while sailing under a reefed mainsail and jib when the wave sent them into the water. "We’re both very comfortable in the water, so I’d say surprise more than fear was the reaction. The adrenaline mitigated the cold of the water and we didn’t really notice it until afterward."

Fortunately for the crew of Pteradactyl there was a pack of a half-dozen boats close by who saw that the boat wasn’t behaving normally. The first on scene was Cliff Shaw’s Crowther 36 catamaran Rainbow. Shaw was out spectating that day and had the two men on board within what de Faymoreau estimated to be ten minutes.

One of the other boats standing by was Jim Quanci’s Cal 40 Green Buffalo. Quanci watched as Rainbow deployed their Lifesling and quickly got the two aboard. "It was incredible how effectively and quickly the inflatable PFDs, Lifesling and catamaran came together," Quanci said. "It only took a few seconds of pulling by the boat crew and the guys in the water, and they were out and sitting on the swim step. Rainbow was the perfect platform for a heavy weather rescue because of the swim platform, steps that start inches above the waterline and the stability of a catamaran."

Rainbow followed Pteradactyl for an hour and half before a Coast Guard boat arrived on scene. Shaw was able to toss Rainbow‘s EPIRB to the Coast Guard who were, in turn, able to toss it aboard Pteradactyl in hopes it would help salvage the boat.

So far this hasn’t proven to be the case as de Faymoreau said his insurance company is unwilling to pay for the search for or salvage of the boat. He said he looked into hiring a plane to locate the boat and found that flying a six-hour search grid would cost upwards of $3,500 in addition to salvage costs should a salvage vessel be able to locate the boat. With no guarantees about what a search would bear, de Faymoreau is now left in boat limbo. He’s owned a Tornado catamaran, Santa Cruz 27 and still owns a Hobie 18, which he figures will be his only ride until either Pteradactyl is located or he’s able to reach an agreement with his insurance company.

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Luka looks to be in pretty good shape considering she just finished a ‘wrong-way’ circumnavigation.