ALAMEDA, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf rescued and assisted three injured persons aboard a 67-foot racing yacht hundreds of miles west of San Francisco, April 1, 2012.
The Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center in Alameda diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf to assist the injured sailors. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, from Air Station San Diego, was sent to and landed aboard the Bertholf as it continued to steam toward the Clipper Venture 6. Once in range, plans called for the helicopter to fly to the yacht and lower a rescue swimmer to assess the injured boaters. At that time, the rescue crew will determine the further needs of the injured persons.
The case began at approximately 9:45 a.m.,Saturday, March 31, when the Coast Guard RCC received a request for assistance from a rescue center in the United Kingdom. The U.K. rescue center reported that there was a 67-foot yacht with 13 persons aboard, three of which were injured. A large wave crashed on top of the yacht causing a steering failure and the injuries.
Early Saturday evening an attempt to provide assistance to the injured boaters was thwarted because of weather concerns. A long-range Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules search and rescue aircraft from Air Station Sacramento flew to the scene after picking up a parajumper rescue team from the Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing. The rescue team reached the yacht at approximately 7 p.m. and dropped medical supplies to the vessel but the Air National Guardsmen were unable to jump because of the weather. The plane returned the parajumpers to their base at Moffett Field.
The injured are aboard a 67-foot sailing vessel named the Clipper Venture 6 which is part of a 10 vessel around-the-world race that started in the United Kingdom. The current leg of the race had the Clipper Venture 6 en route to San Francisco from Qingdao, China. The next leg of the race calls for the boats to head to New York City via the Panama Canal.
The cutter Bertholf, homeported in Alameda, is the first of the service’s new fleet of National Security Cutters. The ship's long range and flight deck, capable of supporting MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters, are key factors in the ongoing rescue effort.