A 70-year-old man was adrift aboard his 62-foot sailboat with no power, some 50 miles off the Atlantic coast, when a brand new Coast Guard cutter came to the rescue.
The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett just left the shipyard in June and hasn’t even been commissioned yet. Her crew happened to be only 20 miles away when the sailor called for help off of Cape Hatteras Saturday evening. Without power, the two-masted sailboat had no navigational lights.
It was Midgett’s first search and rescue case. Her crew helped lower the disabled boat’s sails and get it ready for towing, staying with the sailor through the night. Since the boat wasn’t quite “mission-ready,” The Coast Guard sent Cutter Nathan Bruckenthal behind her, to tow the sailboat in.
“It was fortunate that a pre-commissioned Coast Guard cutter was the closest vessel and could be involved with its first search and rescue case, staying with the sailboat until a mission ready cutter arrived,” said Chief Petty Officer Ryan Langley, a watchstander at the 5th District. “The situation could have gotten worse overnight Saturday; the sailor hadn’t slept much, he was pretty far offshore and didn’t have navigation lights.”
The Bruckenthal crew arrived Sunday and took the sailboat into Cape Henry, Virginia, where the tow was transferred to commercial salvage and delivered to Cobb’s Marina.
-Meg Walburn Viviano