PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard was able to free an aground 30-foot sailboat with a man aboard Saturday in the Albemarle Sound and tow it approximately 15 miles northwest to a pier in downtown Elizabeth City, N.C.
A crew member aboard the sailboat South Bound contacted Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders via VHF-FM channel 16 at 1:30 p.m. reporting his sailboat was aground and was in need of assistance.
Coast Guard sector watchstanders dispatched a crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat - Small from Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City to assist.
The RBS crew arrived on scene at approximately 2:15 p.m. and transferred a crewmember to the sailboat to render assistance.
"We passed over a bridle and secured it to the sailboat's mast through the chock on the bow of the sailboat," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Spence, the coxswain of the RBS from Station Elizabeth City. "We turned the sailboat's bow into the seas and as the waves lifted the sailboat, we were able to make way approximately 200 yards out of the shoal water."
After nearly two hours, the RBS crew was able to free the sailboat from the shoal. The RBS crew lengthened the tow line and proceeded to tow the vessel to downtown Elizabeth City.
The RBS crew moored the sailboat to a pier near the Elizabeth City Shipyard at approximately 6:45 p.m.
There were no reports of injuries.