Abandoned sailboat found still afloat

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USCG photo
Crew from the cutter Barracuda attach a tow line to Kelaerin

On June 17, 2018, a voyaging couple, Jim and Joy Cary, were forced to abandon their Omega 45 cutter Kelaerin in the Pacific 180 miles off the the U.S. West Coast. Yesterday, however, the story took a new turn with an announcement by the Coast Guard that the sailboat had been found. 

A combination of bad weather, bad luck and a ripped mainsail led the Carys to make the decision to leave the boat, on which they were just about to finish a 17-year circumnavigation. They were taken off by a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. The Carys had sailed almost 70,000 miles on Kelaerin and had only 150 miles to go to finish their long circumnavigation. You can read an account of their travails here. 

The Carys assumed that Kalaerin was gone forever, but on July 24, 2018, the Coast Guard Eleventh District announced in a press release that crew members of the USCG cutter Barracuda had found Kelaerin while on routine patrol approximately 440 miles south southeast from where it was abandoned. 

From the press release: "Barracuda crew inspected the vessel's seaworthiness and took it in tow toward the coast, where a Coast Guard Station Fort Bragg 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew relieved the tow and moored the vessel at the B Dock in Fort Bragg, Monday morning. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders contacted the owners to notify them the vessel had been found.

"The vessel was not under power and was completely at the mercy of the sea," said Chief Warrant Officer Chris Ramp, the Sector Humboldt Bay command center chief. "The owners probably never thought they'd see it again. Thankfully, Barracuda crew kept a vigilant eye on the water and spotted the vessel so they could bring it back to shore." 

Categories: Ocean Voyaging, Web Exclusive