PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard safely towed the lost operator and his sailing vessel Lancastrian, approximately 370 miles to Cobb’s Marina in Little Creek, Va., Sunday.
The boat’s operator, David Chatburn, called the Coast Guard 5th District command center Wednesday to request assistance after becoming confused about his position.
“One of the best pieces of equipment that Mr. Chatburn had onboard the sailing vessel Lancastrian was his emergency position indicating radio beacon,” said Lt. Scott Farr, a command duty officer at the 5th District Command Center. “After he made his way through adverse weather and remained awake for four days without any adequate rest, he became confused and provided conflicting positions. With the help of his EPIRB, which we directed him to turn on, we knew exactly where he was.”
“When there is conflicting information on a mariner’s position, an EPRIB can provide the true location of a mariner in distress; provided that the mariner is near their EPIRB,” added Farr. “The Fifth District Command Center watchstanders could watch his vessel track towards the North East. This information was continually passed to the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa to vector them to his sailboat. Without a doubt the EPIRB was the most important piece of equipment that assisted us in assisting Mr. Chatburn.”
Chatburn was traveling from Little Creek, Va., to Scotland when he encountered adverse weather and was forced to turn back after his sailing vessel sustained steering damage. The Coast Guard launched an HC-130 Hercules rescue aircraft crew to maintain communication with the sailing vessel. A good Samaritan crew aboard the merchant ship Master also kept radio communication with the Lancastrian while other Coast Guard assets arrived.
A crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa responded and arrived on scene to check on the operator and to tow him back to Virgina.
The Tampa towed the vessel approximately 330 miles till it was relieved by a crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Cochito off the coast of Cape Henry.