World sailing

Couple of sailboats around the world rescued off Atlantic City

A couple’s round-the-world sailing trip ends badly when their boat capsizes at the very end of the last leg of the trip.

Mid-Atlantic Coast Guard crews rescued the man and woman about 65 miles east of Atlantic City on Wednesday, clinging to the hull of their 55-foot wooden boat, bertie.

Both were sailing bertie around the world for the past few years, and were on the last leg of their journey from the Bahamas to New York when the boat capsized.

The USCG Fifth District command center in Portsmouth received an alert from the boat’s distress beacon, known as the EPIRB. The Coast Guard crew called the emergency contact registered with the EPIRB, and that’s how they learned of the sailors’ flotation plan.

They were out of range for VHF reception and cell phones, so the EPIRB (and its up-to-date emergency contact) probably saved the sailors’ lives.

A Coast Guard cutter, helicopter, and aircraft crew all responded to the location of the EPIRB and followed a flashing strobe light to find the sailboat’s hull capsized. The helicopter crew hoisted the sailors aboard and took them to a waiting EMS crew in Atlantic City.

“It was an extremely difficult winch due to the conditions on site, but the whole crew came together to work as a team to get the job done,” said Lt. Anthony Monteforte, one of the helicopter pilots on the ‘affair. “I am extremely proud of my crew and all other assets who assisted in this rescue and grateful that the survivors on board used a currently registered EPIRB so that we could locate them quickly.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano