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Good Samaritan Vessel Rescues Racing Yacht in Mid-Atlantic

Lhor One at rescue
Image courtesy USCG

Published Mar 5, 2024 8:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard worked with a good samaritan vessel to arrange the rescue of two sailors in the middle of the Atlantic.

At about 1800 hours on Sunday, the Coast Guard's Fifth District command center received an EPIRB alert from Lhor One, a 40-foot sailboat built for ocean racing. The boat was in the middle of a transit from Guadeloupe to France, and began taking on water some 1,500 nautical miles east of Bermuda - about midway between Africa and the United States. 

Though remote, this region is well within the reach of the Coast Guard's HC-130 long range SAR aircraft, and an aircrew was dispatched to the position. Given the long distance from land-based assets, the Coast Guard also put out a request for assistance from merchant ships in the vicinity.

The HC-130 aircrew arrived at about 0445 hours on Monday morning and established radio contact with the Lhor One. The two crewmembers reported that they were taking on water from a hole caused by a "lightning strike." 

The container feeder Frio Ionian accepted an AMVER request and diverted to the scene, arriving midmorning on Monday. The crew safely brought aboard the two sailors - aged 20 and 24 - without further incident. No injuries were reported.

“This rescue was quite a distance from land and the successful rescue of two mariners was only possible because of the crew of the Frio Ionian’s participation in the AMVER program,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Starr Franklin, a watchstander with the Fifth District command center. “To put the distance from shore in perspective, the mariners were roughly the same as if you drove from Portsmouth, Virginia to Odessa, Texas, near the Texas-New Mexico border.”  

The sailboat Sogestran Seafrigo (Lhor One) is a Class 40 racing sailboat. The vessel and her crew had just won the RORC Caribbean 600 Race in their class, and they were on a return voyage to France.