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Three Sailors Rescued Off Oregon Coast

Conditions were relatively mild when Rogues’ Scholarship’s call for help reached the Coast Guard, but a storm three days earlier had completely disabled her. 

© 2016 US Coast Guard District 13

Having survived three days adrift roughly 45 miles off the Oregon coast this week, three Pacific Northwest sailors are reportedly very happy to be back on dry land, thanks to assistance from multiple Coast Guard assets.

According to news reports and US Coat Guard Region 13 staff, Captain Marc Winn and his crew, Kathy Nurkowski and Todd Holt, were sailing south from Washington to California aboard the 51-ft sailboat Rogues’ Scholarship when a powerful storm clobbered them Monday, leaving the big sloop with tattered sails, a broken boom, a fouled prop and no steerage.

For three days they drifted under cloudy skies, with batteries too diminished to broadcast a call for help. After skies cleared on the third day, the boat’s solar panel finally generated enough juice for the weary yet uninjured crew to reach Coast Guard watchstanders via their DSC-enabled VHF. The response was impressive: Two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters were dispatched from different Oregon bases, at least one of which put a rescue swimmer in the water to assess the situation and give the sailors a fresh VHF; a C-27J surveillance aircraft out of Air Station Sacramento was sent out to monitor the situation; and the 110-ft cutter Cuttyhunk was sent out from Port Angeles, WA. She towed Rogues’ Scholarship toward Reedsport, OR, eventually handing off the tow to a 47-ft motor life boat from Station Umpqua River. 

The weary crew was reportedly thrilled to reach safe harbor after their offshore ordeal. 

© US Coast Guard District 13

We haven’t talked to the much-relieved crew, but we’ll bet they’re mentally reviewing each phase of their ordeal and asking themselves how they might have been better prepared for such an emergency or reacted differently to the storm conditions.

If you are among the hundreds of sailors who’ll be sailing offshore this summer or fall, we’d urge you to ask yourself the same questions. And if you have suggestions that could benefit other offshore sailors, we’d love to hear them

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