Editor

how it went down

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At approximately 0151 July 15, 2019 nearly 200 miles offshore the California coast, the sailing vessel OEX was competing in the 2019 Transpac Race to Honolulu.  OEX was sailing with a full reef, jib and stay sail. At this moment, we experienced catastrophic rudder system failure tearing a large hole in the hull of the boat.  We were rapidly taking on water. We tried to plug the hole with no success. Brendan Busch radioed a Mayday and the crew of Pyewacket diverted to us. The OEX crew of Erik Berzins, Ryan Breymaier, Brendan Busch, Mat Bryant, Chuck Clay, John Sangmeister, Randy Smith, John Turpin, Greg Weeger remained calm and made a heroic attempt to save the boat.  With waves breaking over the transom into the cockpit and the Pyewacket in sight, I ordered the crew to enter the rafts and abandon ship at 0220.  

We are grateful to the United States Coast Guard and the entire crew of Pyewacket for their efforts on our behalf.  We have known Roy and his crew for over 35 years both as team mates and competitors. We hold them in the highest esteem both on and off the water.  Their rescue of the OEX crew came at an extremely high personal price--their retirement from the Transpac race. 

The rescue of the OEX crew was affected with the highest level of seamanship.  Both teams worked calmly and efficiently and with tremendous cooperation. Once aboard we were welcomed graciously and the Pyewacket crew made every effort to accommodate us.

 On behalf of the OEX crew I would like to nominate Roy Disney and the entire crew of Pyewacket for US Sailing's Hanson award which recognizes significant accomplishments in seamanship and valor.  I have included the names of the entire crew in hope that each will be acknowledged for their effort and sacrifice.

Here is the crew list of Pyewacket:

Tom Addis
Mark Callahan
Paul Cayard
Roy Disney
Scott Easom
Brad Jackson
Robbie Kane
Ben Mitchell
Mark Towill
Gary Weisman

Thank you or your consideration of this nomination.  

Warm regards,

John Sangmeister
Owner Skipper S/V OEX

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Hats off.. that is the way is should always be.

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This could be Ben Mitchell's 3rd or 4th Hanson rescue medal.  He's been in the right place to save lives.  It's great that the teams both made it safely back to shore.

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Hats off to Pyewacket indeed. A lot of class shown all around and glad everyone is safe.

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Nothing is more important than human life.

WAY TO GO Roy and crew!!!!

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This is why offshore races have so many safety requirements. This could have been a lot worse

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16 hours ago, Editor said:

At approximately 0151 July 15, 2019 nearly 200 miles offshore the California coast, the sailing vessel OEX was competing in the 2019 Transpac Race to Honolulu.  OEX was sailing with a full reef, jib and stay sail. At this moment, we experienced catastrophic rudder system failure tearing a large hole in the hull of the boat.  We were rapidly taking on water. We tried to plug the hole with no success. Brendan Busch radioed a Mayday and the crew of Pyewacket diverted to us. The OEX crew of Erik Berzins, Ryan Breymaier, Brendan Busch, Mat Bryant, Chuck Clay, John Sangmeister, Randy Smith, John Turpin, Greg Weeger remained calm and made a heroic attempt to save the boat.  With waves breaking over the transom into the cockpit and the Pyewacket in sight, I ordered the crew to enter the rafts and abandon ship at 0220.  

We are grateful to the United States Coast Guard and the entire crew of Pyewacket for their efforts on our behalf.  We have known Roy and his crew for over 35 years both as team mates and competitors. We hold them in the highest esteem both on and off the water.  Their rescue of the OEX crew came at an extremely high personal price--their retirement from the Transpac race. 

The rescue of the OEX crew was affected with the highest level of seamanship.  Both teams worked calmly and efficiently and with tremendous cooperation. Once aboard we were welcomed graciously and the Pyewacket crew made every effort to accommodate us.

 On behalf of the OEX crew I would like to nominate Roy Disney and the entire crew of Pyewacket for US Sailing's Hanson award which recognizes significant accomplishments in seamanship and valor.  I have included the names of the entire crew in hope that each will be acknowledged for their effort and sacrifice.

Here is the crew list of Pyewacket:

Tom Addis
Mark Callahan
Paul Cayard
Roy Disney
Scott Easom
Brad Jackson
Robbie Kane
Ben Mitchell
Mark Towill
Gary Weisman….Wow still at it !

Thank you or your consideration of this nomination.  

Warm regards,

John Sangmeister
Owner Skipper S/V OEX

 

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The size of that sacrifice (the decision to withdraw) just goes to show how classy the Pyewacket team is. One of the many reasons to love this sport! Hats off from @SecondStarRacing

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14 hours ago, CorrosionX said:

The size of that sacrifice (the decision to withdraw) just goes to show how classy the Pyewacket team is. One of the many reasons to love this sport! Hats off from @SecondStarRacing

Oh well, it would have been illegal to not help I guess....but yes, a huge sacrifice and done with style. Well done. 

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It is not illegal to not help. It is up to each Skipper to determine his or her  ability to help and how they may be able to assist other sailors in trouble. They don't have to put their own vessel and crew in danger. Sometimes all another vessel can do is stand by; they aren't capable of taking on big numbers of crew, or the conditions are too rough for them to approach. Sometimes all they can do is relay radio messages. That is what makes Pyewacket's efforts - in the dark, with seas running - so commendable. The decision to return to the mainland may have been impacted by suddenly not having enough food & water for twice the number of people on board.

 

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32 minutes ago, PaulK said:

It is not illegal to not help. It is up to each Skipper to determine his or her  ability to help and how they may be able to assist other sailors in trouble. They don't have to put their own vessel and crew in danger. Sometimes all another vessel can do is stand by; they aren't capable of taking on big numbers of crew, or the conditions are too rough for them to approach. Sometimes all they can do is relay radio messages. That is what makes Pyewacket's efforts - in the dark, with seas running - so commendable. The decision to return to the mainland may have been impacted by suddenly not having enough food & water for twice the number of people on board.

 

Pete Goss' rescue of Rafael Dinelli, Southern Ocean during VG '96/'97:

 He was downwind of Dinelli when the Mayday came through: in order to even reach Dinelli's location he had to turn his Open-50 around and beat into 80mph winds for two days. He didn't know if it would even be possible to make ground upwind in the conditions he faced, nor whether his boat could take the abuse it would get trying.

 If he had radioed to say he couldn't risk destroying his boat to attempt to reach Dinelli, find him and somehow bring him on board, knowing that there was every possibility that Dinelli wouldn't survive two days exposed in the Southern Ocean while he attempted to do so,  no-one would ever have thought ill of him for making that decision.

Brave man. Great sailing. Should be an inspiration to us all.

Cheers,

              W.

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 The crew of Pyewacket: These are the real hero's of boat racing.

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I still do not get why racing monos are not required to have a watertight bulkhead in front of the rudder.

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8 hours ago, bushsailor said:

I still do not get why racing monos are not required to have a watertight bulkhead in front of the rudder.

I agree with you for offshore racing monos, especially with the number of UFOs in this race.

Either that, or forward looking sonar. .....

"Up for container"

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I suspect there may be a few insurance companies looking to revisit this as a requirement before the next Transpac

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On ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 2:58 AM, NORBowGirl said:

Oh well, it would have been illegal to not help I guess...

It doesn't always happen. I was on a delivery off the Dry Tortugas when a skipper/owner refused to respond to parachute flares. Never sailed with him again. Fortunately heard later that someone else in the area did respond and effected a rescue.

Pywacket deserves all the praise they are getting for making the sacrifice they did. They are world class sailors and usually win what they set out to race. They are capable and willing to do what not many others will or can. They are the uncontested heroes of Transpac 2019. 

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