Coast Guard tows disabled sailboat off Avon to safety ahead of heavy winds

photo courtesy USCG Oregon Inlet

A crew from Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet assisted two people on a sailboat that became disabled Friday evening off Hatteras Island ahead of the storms and heavy winds that hit just hours later.

The 35-foot vessel was reported in distress in 15-knot winds at 6:41 p.m. about 1.5 miles off Avon, according to a post on the station’s Facebook page.

photo courtesy USCG Oregon Inlet

One of the station’s 47-foot motor life boat was launched to assist, and once on the scene set up to put the sailboat in a stern tow with a Kevlar bridle.

The two forward cleats on the bow of the sailboat were covered by a rubber Zodiac, hindering the tow from being set.

The coxswain instructed the sailboat to cast the Zodiac overboard, which was recovered and placed on the Coast Guard boat’s bow.

After passing the bridle to the sailboat, the Coast Guard crew played out 700 feet of tow line to distribute the tension for the 20 nautical mile transit to Oregon Inlet.

photo courtesy USCG Oregon Inlet

While approaching the Oregon Inlet Bar, the station’s second 47-foot motor life boat launched to assist with the crossing.

During the transit across the bar, both crews utilized parachute flares which allowed the crews to spot dangerous swells and breaking shoals.

Once safely across, they shifted to an alongside tow to a marina in Wanchese. No injuries were reported.

photo courtesy USCG Oregon Inlet

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Sam Walker is news director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3. Reach him at swalker3@jammediallc.com