San Francisco-based cruiser Jerry Morgan, 72, and a Kiwi crewmember, 39, were rescued last Friday after Morgan’s Trintella 53 Sumatra sank 320 miles off the Australian coast. Morgan, a veteran of both the ’02 and ’05 Ha-Ha’s as well as the ’00 Pacific Cup, activated his EPIRB when Sumatra began taking on water. After making contact with the Australian Coast Guard via sat phone, the commercial ship Scarlett Lucy was redirected to their location. The Coast Guard reports that conditions were rough — 25-ft seas and poor visibility — making the rescue all the more difficult. Attempts by a Coast Guard plane to lower a water pump to the boat failed, so when Scarlett Lucy arrived on scene, the pair boarded Sumatra‘s dinghy. The crewmember was able to climb the ship’s boarding net but Morgan apparently fell out of the dinghy and was unable to reach the net. He drifted in the water for another 45 minutes before the crew managed to pull him in with a lifering.
The cause of Sumatra‘s sinking is unclear at this point but both Morgan and his crew are safe and in good health. His family reports that he will return to the Bay Area before deciding on his next move.