Great Texas 300 catamaran race starts with 2 Coast Guard rescues on the 1st day

A new 33-foot special purpose craft, law enforcement boat from Coast Guard Station South Padre Island, Texas, speeds through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The new boats have a top speed of over 50 knots and are intended to enhance the station's law enforcement capabilities USCG photo by PA2 Adam EggersCORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard brought two men to safety Thursday after a sailboat capsized 3 miles offshore and rescued another man who went overboard 11 miles offshore; all were participating in the first leg of the Great Texas 300.

After being postponed due to Tropical Storm Bill, the 100-mile stretch from South Padre Island to Mustang Island of the Great Texas 300 began early Thursday morning. The race ends in Galveston.

At approximately 11 a.m., a man made a distress call on VHF marine band radio channel 16, “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY.” He stated that the 18-foot sailboat, Jack Flash, capsized and that the skipper had a wound to his upper face.

Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Station South Padre Island boatcrew and a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi helicopter crew to respond. The sailing vessel had an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which allowed the boatcrew and aircrew to locate them and get on scene quickly.

The rescue boatcrew took the two men aboard and the helicopter crew lowered the EMT certified rescue swimmer to the small boat in order to assess them and found one of the men with abrasions to his face. The men were met by EMS at Station South Padre Island.

Then at approximately 4 p.m., while transiting back to Air Station Corpus Christi, the same air crew overheard a MAYDAY call from the sailing vessel, Chiidii, of a man in the water 11 miles north of Baffin Bay. They immediately diverted to assist the man. The helicopter’s rescue swimmer aided the man back to his sailboat and they continued the race.

“It is extremely rewarding to use our training and teamwork with Station South Padre Island boat crew, the Sector Command Center, and our aircrew to successfully help three people from dangerous situations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Byron Creech, a helicopter pilot at Sector Corpus Christi. “In both of today’s cases the survivors were well prepared for an emergency at sea. All three survivors had handheld marine radios, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons, and life jackets. All of this equipment helped our crews locate and rescue these three survivors.”

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