Helping A Capsized HobiCat
28 December 2018 | St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
We moved 'Julia Max' from Crown Bay Marina to the east end of St. Thomas' Red Hook. At 11:00am we heard the US Coast Guard report on a capsized HobiCat sailboat off the southern coast of St, Thomas. The winds were blowing East 25-33 knots, with 6' seas. Not the place for a small two-hulled sailboat. As we were motoring, we looked around, and to our surprise we saw the troubled sailboat a couple hundred yards away. Immediately we called the Coast Guard, gave them our GPS position, and headed over to the boat. There was one man trying to stand the boat up, but unsuccessfully. As we milled around him, giving him a sense of security, we learned that his wife and two kids had been in the water, picked up, taken to safety, and an inflatable dinghy from the local resort was bringing a sailing instructor to the boat to help the sailor get the boat back upright in the turbulent seas and heavy wind. In addition a second dinghy arrived on scene with 3 men, one which transferred over to the first dinghy to help. What surprised us was that none of these people had life jackets! The wind was nearly tipping over the first dinghy. It was a real mess. But eventually the HobiCat was uprighted, and they seemed to sail it in the conditions with ease, and returned to shore at least a half-mile away with the two other dinghies. We completed our reporting to the Coast Guard, including giving the USCG phone number for the people to call once they were back ashore. It is always a rewarding feeling to be able to help people in trouble!