Australian Lunatics Narrowly Avert Death Off Nantucket

U.S. Coast Guard image
U.S. Coast Guard image

Lunatics, a-holes, idiots… whatever you want to call them…

In January, Reg and Jason McGlashan paid USD $10,000 for the 43-foot sailboat Sedona off eBay with the intention of sailing her to Australia less than two months later.

“We’ve never done anything like this. Dad’s not even a sailor, but he’s a quick study,” said Jason McGlashan in an interview with the Newport Daily News in early February. “We’ve got plenty of food, plenty of booze, good sails and all the safety gear you could ever need, so we’re going to be OK.”

A gCaptain source who had worked on the Sedona over the past month had directly warned the McGlashans against the trip.

“You know how when you go back into the steering quadrant of a boat and it’s really dark?  It was bright as day back there,” our source says.

He was referring to the thickness of the fiberglass in the hull.

“I wouldn’t sail that boat from Newport to Jamestown,” he notes.

The previous owner of the boat was allegedly facing significant hull delamination issues which prompted him to list it on for sale on eBay.

Our source further notes that the father and son pair had planned to sail their boat around the southern tip of Africa and through the Southern Ocean, instead of the much easier route through the Panama Canal and the along the Pacific trade winds.

The U.S. Coast Guard was informed prior to their departure of their foolish plans and subsequently gave them a final warning that departing for the open ocean from Newport on Friday with a blizzard forecasted was a very dangerous plan.

150 miles later, with their sails in tatters and hypothermia setting in, they called it quits and requested rescue from those who had advised them against going in the first place.

The U.S. Coast Guard says, “after navigating through low visibility and near hurricane force winds, the aircrew arrived on-scene at 8:48 a.m., and hoisted the men to safety.”

By the time the crew was recovered, the U.S. Coast Guard notes conditions had deteriorated to 25-foot seas and winds of nearly 60 mph. Seas were forecasted to build to 34 feet into the evening. The water temperature was 43 degrees and the air temperature was 35 degrees.

A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod helicopter crew returns from rescuing a father and son from a sailboat about 150 miles south of Nantucket, Mass., Feb. 15, 2015. After navigating through low visibility and near hurricane force winds, the crew safely hoisted the men and returned to Air Station Cape Cod. (U.S. Coast Guard photo contributed by Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod)
A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod helicopter crew returns from rescuing a father and son from a sailboat about 150 miles south of Nantucket, Mass., Feb. 15, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard was urging mariners and the coastal public to prepare for the winter storm, which was forecasted to bring severe blizzard conditions, with heavy snow and winds gusting to 60 knots, beginning Saturday evening and lasting into Sunday morning. The Coast Guard added that it had been flying storm tracks since Friday to warn mariners of the impeding winter storm.

“Given the severity of this storm, this rescue was a major effort and we are all relieved it ended as it did,” said Lt. j.g. Tyler Dewechter, MH-60 pilot and public affairs officer at Air Station Cape Cod. “We are glad we were prepared for this storm and could render aid — and also continue to urge mariners to stay safe and heed the cautions and advisories of winter storm warnings.”

Have an opinion about this? Feel free to rant in the Forum.

BZ to the U.S. Coast Guard… you all continue to impress.