The U.S. Coast Guard performed a daring father and son rescue Friday, plucking the men from the Atlantic after their vessel had lost power. Powerful, near-hurricane force winds had ripped the sails, leaving the father and son sailing team adrift in 25-foot swells that threatened to swamp their 43-foot sailboat.
Writes NBC News on Feb. 16: “The First Coast Guard District command center in Boston contacted the men by satellite phone after receiving an alert beacon signal from the Sedona at about 4:50 a.m. Sunday. The 43-foot vessel lost power approximately 150 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts.”
Aussie father and son – Reg McGlashan, 65, and Jason McGlashan, 38 – intended to sail from Rhode Island back home to Port Macquarie in NSW, Australia – a distance of nearly 10,000 miles. However, the pair were roughed up by heavy swells near the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Their craft, named the “Sedona,” was lost.
Picking up the men’s distress call at approximately 5:00 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard responded by scrambling its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. It took the responders nearly four hours to locate the sailors and their drifting, disabled sailboat. A howling snowstorm battered the boat, which the men reportedly bought on eBay.
The McGlashans estimated that their trip would take them approximately two months. The younger McGlashan is reportedly an experienced sailor. They planned to sail to Bermuda, then southeast to the tip of South Africa and head east across the Indian Ocean. “We’ve got plenty of food, plenty of booze, good sails and all the safety gear you could ever need, so we’re going to be OK,” said Jason before he left, according to Melbourne’s Herald Sun.
Heavy snows and high winds pelted the Northeast over the weekend, bringing blizzard-like conditions and fierce winds that topped out at 60 miles per hour.
“The operator of the Sedona requested he and his father be removed from the vessel due to the degrading weather,” the Coast Guard said, adding that the crew battled “near hurricane-force winds” to get to the stranded vessel. The men were returned to coast at about 11:00 a.m.
Neither men suffered any injuries. Jason’s sister-in-law, Rebecca McGlashan, said Sunday: “It’s a relief they’re OK, they’re very lucky to be alive.”
“Given the severity of this storm, this rescue was a major effort and we are all relieved it ended as it did,” said Coast Guard public affairs officer Tyler Dewechter. “We are glad we were prepared for this storm and could render aid – and also continue to urge mariners to stay safe and heed the cautions and advisories of winter storm warnings.”
Reg McGlashan said: “We were coming down the coast and had a bit of an equipment failure on board. The only alternative was to get professional help in…We had everything checked out and it was just one of those things that was beyond our control.” Video captured the men being hoisted up on wire ropes attached to safety baskets.
“The guys here at Cape Cod Coast Guard have been utterly fantastic; they plucked us out of the water,” the elder McGlashan said. “We’re currently staying with them at the base.”
Adds the Sydney Morning Herald: “The duo’s journey had attracted a great deal of interest from the Newport community, the paper reported, with locals apparently alarmed at their plan to complete the trip in six to eight weeks amid freezing conditions.”
“Our story seems to have spread pretty quickly here,” said Reg McGlashan said. “I’ve had more than one person come up to me and say ‘Oh, you’re the guys in from Australia. Good luck!’ and then give us a funny look.”