Catamaran Race Starts with 2 Rescues

June 19, 2015

Yachting Journal

An Air Station Corpus Christi rescue swimmer is deployed for two rescues in the Gulf of Mexico and audio of a distress call from one of the mariners on VHF-16. (screenshot from USCG video)

Great Texas 300 catamaran race begins with two Coast Guard rescues on the first day
The U.S. Coast Guard brought two men to safety Thursday after a sailboat capsized 3 miles offshore and rescued another man who went overboard 11 miles offshore; all were participating in the first leg of the Great Texas 300.
After being postponed due to Tropical Storm Bill, the 100-mile stretch from South Padre Island to Mustang Island of the Great Texas 300 began early Thursday morning. The race ends in Galveston.
At approximately 11 a.m., a manmade a distress call on VHF marine band radio channel 16, “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY.” He stated that the 18-foot sailboat, Jack Flash, capsized and that the skipper had a wound to his upper face. 
Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders launched a Station South Padre Island boatcrew and an Air Station Corpus Christi helicopter crew to respond. The sailing vessel had an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which allowed the boatcrew and aircrew to locate them and get on scene quickly. 
The rescue boatcrew took the two men aboard and the helicopter crew lowered the EMT certified rescue swimmer to the small boat in order to assess them and found one of the men with abrasions to his face. The men were met by EMS at Station South Padre Island.
Then at approximately 4 p.m., while transiting back to Air Station Corpus Christi, the same air crew overheard a MAYDAY call from the sailing vessel, Chiidii, of a man in the water 11 miles north of Baffin Bay. They immediately diverted to assist the man. The helicopter’s rescue swimmer aided the man back to his sailboat and they continued the race. 
Lt. Cmdr. Byron Creech, a helicopter pilot at Sector Corpus Christi, said, “In both of today's cases the survivors were well prepared for an emergency at sea. All three survivors had handheld marine radios, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons and life jackets. All of this equipment helped our crews locate and rescue these three survivors.”
Air Station Corpus ChristiBaffin BayU.S. Coast Guard