Coast Guard Rescues 2, Tows Sailboat to Safety

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Oak rescued two men and towed their sailing vessel Wonder Lust to safety Thursday morning after their vessel became disabled and adrift Wednesday evening, approximately 50 nautical miles southeast of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

The rescued men, U.S. Citizens, endured seven-foot seas and squally winds aboard the broken sailing rig, and the low battery power onboard forced them to turn off the vessel’s navigational lights to transmit radio communications.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan controllers received a call at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday from Fort De France Rescue Coordination Center coordinators, who relayed a report from the Good Samaritan motor vessel Maria indicating the Wonder Lust’s position and distress. Search and Rescue coordinators in Sector San Juan took control of the rescue and diverted the Oak to assist the distressed vessel.

The cutter Oak arrived on scene at approximately 10:45 p.m. Wednesday and prepared to tow the 46-foot sailing vessel with the two men onboard to safety. The crew of the Oak arrived with the Wonder Lust in tow at approximately 9 a.m. Thursday to Christiansted Harbor, Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin islands, where the two men were released in good health and the sailing vessel was safely anchored.

The Coast Guard Cutter Oak is a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender home ported in Charleston, S.C.

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  1. Larry Harmon says:

    You guys are wonderful. Your rescue stories are amazing. Great job Oak.

  2. John Stone says:

    You guys are way more than “wonderful”…

    I was one of the “two men” aboard this rescued sailboat.

    I have just now been able to return to the US, (Ohio) after this traumatic experience and found this page while searching for information about the “Cutter Oak” and her crew.

    The response of the crew of the Oak, particularly the officer in charge and the communications officers, was incredibly efficient and professional but was also quite compassionate and reassuring. This led to a level of relief sorely needed that night.

    I am going to send a formal letter of my most sincere appreciation to the appropriate officials of the USCG, the commander, and especially the crew of the Cutter Oak, as well as any Government officials that should hear this, and would very much appreciate it if someone here can help guide me as to how I can do this as well as to whom to send it to.

    With my most sincere thanks to the USCG and the Cutter Oak,
    John Stone

  3. cgnews says:

    Comments to CG Sector San Juan, who coordinated the rescue, should go to:
    CAPT James E. Tunstall
    U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan
    #5 La Puntilla
    San Juan, PR 00901

    I was unable to locate an address for the Oak but they should get it if you send it to:
    Commanding Officer
    USCGC Oak
    c/o Coast Guard Sector
    196 Tradd Street
    Charleston, SC, 29401

  4. John Stone says:

    Thank you ‘cgnews’ for the helpful info.

    It’s a personal matter that I tell of my thanks and pride in these men and women. I was so moved by the experience and by the crews thoughfulness. That morning, after our 10 hour tow back to St Croix and being set in the anchorage by their tender/crew, they left us with two bowls of sausage gravy and biscuits, (sent out by the cook, and the best meal I’ve ever had BTW) I promised myself that I would not forget to make my thanks formaly known.
    John Stone