The Coast Guard reports that on Sunday they rescued the 29-year-old skipper of the 27-ft sailboat Amica about 55 miles west of Fort Bragg after the boat lost its rudder in heavy seas and winds. The sailor was Jon Innes from Vancouver, BC aboard an upgraded 1976 Catalina 27. "[He] had plans to sail from Vancouver to San Francisco," noted the Coast Guard press release. He apparently was seven days out of Neah Bay, WA when he lost his rudder.
Lt. Todd Vorenkamp, the pilot of the helo that rescued Innes, said that the size of the boat combined with large swell and white caps made visual contact difficult. “Fortunately for him, Amica’s captain was prepared for his ocean voyage and was equipped with a personal locator beacon, survival suit, GPS, and marine VHF radio," said Lt. j.g. Brent Hargrove, co-pilot. Check out the following video for footage of rescue swimmer PO1 James Force saving a fellow human being:
What you don’t see in the video is, after Innes has been brought aboard, Force being pulled up in the basket as a 15-ft wave washes over him.
Innes was taken to an area hospital, but is reported to have been in good condition. Contrary to the title of the video, Amica never capsized, according to Vorenkamp. We hope to get the full story for the September issue of Latitude 38.