Two Sailors Receive US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal for Saving Stranded Windsurfer
Two sailors came in the nick of time to save a stranded windsurfer who was right in the line of an approaching container ship. Brad Hillebrandt and Laura Mooney received the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal for rescuing the windsurfer in San Francisco Bay.
Hillebrandt and Mooney were on a shakedown cruise in San Francisco Bay in preparation for a trip to Mexico. When they were just east of the Harding Rock Buoy, they realized they needed to get out of the shipping lane because a container ship was heading outbound only about two miles away. At that time, Mooney spotted a male windsurfer waving both his arms, trying to get their attention. The wind had died down suddenly, stranding the windsurfer in line of the approaching container ship.
The two sailors, Hillebrandt and Mooney, reacted immediately to the windsurfer's calls for help, starting the engine and furling the staysail to get to the victim. They approached the victim on a beam reach and eased the sail, stopping 10 feet away from the victim. They then lowered the swim ladder and threw the windsurfer a line to pull him in. He was tired and cramped, having difficulty swimming and climbing the boarding ladder. They tied a line to his windsurfer and towed it behind. As the three were on their way back to shore, they watched as the ship passed right through the area where the windsurfer had been stranded.
The US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is given to skippers of pleasure boats or race support vessels who affect rescues of victims from the water. The award is made for rescues in U.S. waters, or in races that originate or terminate in a U.S. port. The Rescue Medal has been in existence for 12 years and is administered by US Sailing's Safety at Sea Committee (SASC). More information about the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal can be found at www.ussailing.org/safety/resues
The Rescue Medals recognize exemplary acts of seamanship, but the award process is also a vital part of US Sailing's effort to gain more education about rescues at sea. The data and stories of award nominees are studied carefully by the SASC for the common practices that contribute to, or deter from, the success of a rescue operation.
Born December 8, 1916, Arthur B. "Tim" Hanson started sailing as a child at his family's home on the Chesapeake Bay. He continued the sport during his years at Cornell University and the College of William and Mary. In 1963, Hanson purchased Figaro III, a 47.5-foot Sparkman and Stephens yawl, and renamed it Foolscap. He sailed every Newport-Bermuda Race from 1964 to 1982 and four transatlantic races, including Bermuda to Travemunde, Germany; Bermuda to Vigo, Spain; Newport to Cork, Ireland; and Bermuda to Khristiansand, Norway. He also raced many Annapolis-Newport and Marblehead-Halifax races and Block Island Race Weeks. In the early 1970s, Hanson tested the first Electronic Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on a private yacht during a transatlantic race.