Coast Guard rescues 4 in rough seas near Thimble Shoals Channel, Va.

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Virginia, tows the 46-foot sailboat Heaven into Norfolk, March 2, 2017. The four people aboard the sailboat called for assistance after they lost their mainsail in 25-knot winds. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoffrey Wells)

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Virginia, tows the 46-foot sailboat Heaven into Norfolk, March 2, 2017.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoffrey Wells)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard rescued four people Thursday in Thimble Shoals Channel off Virginia Beach after their sailing vessel became disabled due to heavy winds and rough seas.

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders in Portsmouth received a request for assistance from Towboat US for the 46-foot sailing vessel Heaven with four people aboard at approximately 5:30 a.m.

Towboat US crews were unable to assist due to heavy weather and sea state.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RBM) crew from Coast Guard Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach launched at about 6:00 a.m.

The Coast Guard crew arrived on scene and took the vessel, which initially became disabled after losing its mainsail in five-foot seas and 25-knot winds, in tow at approximately 6:30 a.m.

The Coast Guard towed the sailboat to Cobb’s Marina in Norfolk, arriving at about 10:45 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

“Despite the heavy winds and rough seas, we were able to hook up the tow and get these folks back to port without incident,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoffrey Wells, the coxswain for the case. “Windy days can make for excellent sailing, but they can also make for extremely dangerous conditions. The engine aboard sailing vessel Heaven was working, but wasn’t strong enough to overcome the elements. We encourage all boaters to consider the conditions and the weather forecast before heading out.”

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