The last leg of world cruise of the Bertie: Two sailors rescued from capsized sailboat by Coast Guard

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson, a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Cape May, New Jersey, approaches a capsized 55-foot wooden sailboat about 65 miles east of Atlantic City, New Jersey, May 29, 2019. An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, rescued two mariners, who they found clinging to the capsized boat’s hull. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy, Cutter Lawrence Lawson)

The last leg of world cruise of the Bertie: Two rescued from capsized sailboat by Coast Guard

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Coast Guard crews rescued a man and woman from a capsized sailboat about 65 miles east of Atlantic City late Wednesday night.

The Coast Guard’s Fifth District Command Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, was notified of the vessel’s distress after receiving an alert from the crew’s Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

Watchstanders called the emergency contact registered with the EPIRB, who said the Mariners have been sailing around the world for the past few years on the 55-foot wooden-hull sailboat, Bertie, and the last leg of the trip had been from the Bahamas to New York City.

The vessel was outside of range for VHF and cell reception, so watchstanders directed the Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson, an Air Station Atlantic City MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and an Air Station Elizabeth City HC-130 Hercules airplane crew to the EPIRB’s location, where the sailboat was found capsized.

“When our helicopter arrived on the scene, the crew followed a blinking strobe light and discovered a man and a woman clinging to the hull of their capsized sailboat,” said Lt. Tyler Bittner, the operations duty officer in Atlantic City.

Both mariners were hoisted aboard the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and brought back to Air Station Atlantic City, where they were met by awaiting EMS.

The Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson crew mans the rail during sea trials off the coast of Miami, Florida, on Dec. 12, 2016. The ship will be the second fast response cutter stationed in Cape May, New Jersey, and is scheduled for commissioning in early 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Eric D. Woodall)

The Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson remained on scene to mark the sailboat and attempt to recover the EPIRB.

“This was an extremely challenging hoist due to on-scene conditions, but the entire crew came together to work as a team to get the job done,” said Lt. Anthony Monteforte, one of the helicopter pilots on the case. “I am extremely proud of my crew and all of the other assets that aided in this rescue and thankful that the survivors onboard used a currently registered EPIRB so that we could quickly locate them.”

On board the Bertie from Bertie Facebook page.
The Bertie crew at Isla Mujeres on Dec. 4, 2018 on happier day taking their skiff to shore. From Bertie Facebook.

BERTIE, a heavy yawl built on the general lines of Slocum’s SPRAY. Designed and built by Peter W. Bailey, Sausalito, California, 1976-84. The Bertie Team are listed as Peter Bailey and Heidi Snyder on their Facebook page. This video is of a three-hour haul out in December of 2018 for a check and maintenance.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.