US SAILING, has awarded its Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to the crew of the container ship CSX Discovery for saving the lives of four sailors and a dog racing in the Bahamas 500 cruising rally from Beaufort, NC, to the Bahamas.
The incident occurred on November 17, 2002, when David Hope, skipper of the Hunter 376 Summer Heat, and his crew hit 50-knot winds and 20-foot seas. Summer Heat was less than 100 miles from its destination in the Bahamas and motor sailing under the mainsail when the slides holding the mainsail to the mast broke. Minutes later, the mast broke in two places and a portion of the mast fell overboard, causing the rigging to wrap around the propeller.
Summer Heat crew issued a mayday, to which the U.S. Coast Guard responded by dispatching a plane, which found Summer Heat within minutes. A nearby cargo ship was alerted and the ship attempted to rescue the sailors but failed. A 700-foot container ship, CSX Discovery, was two hours away and received direction from the Coast Guard to Summer Heat's location. With dusk approaching, Captain Hess and crew of CSX Discovery arrived, missing Summer Heat on its first approach. On the second approach, the two ships came together and tied off lines. CSX Discovery had five minutes of relative stability until the rough seas could roll over the ship. The crew of the container ship opened the pilot's hatch, putting the ship at risk of flooding the engine room. Its crewmembers held on to each other to pull the crew of Summer Heat inside.
For coming to the aid of fellow mariners in distress while placing their own ship and crew in danger, the crew of CSX Discovery was presented with US SAILING's Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal on November 10, 2003. The presentation was made on board CSX Discovery by Dick Allsopp, Vice Chairman of US SAILING's Training Committee for Powerboats.
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 14 years and is administered by US SAILING's Safety at Sea Committee (SASC).
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.
For more information about US SAILING's Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal, please visit www.ussailing.org/safety/Rescues/.
The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING) is the national governing body for sailing and sailboat racing. Headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the organization's mission is to encourage participation and promote excellence in sailing and racing in the U.S. US SAILING offers training and education programs, develops and supports a wide range of sailing organizations, associations and communities, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country. For more information, visit the US Sailing website at the address below.