MID-BLIZZARD EVACUATION: Australians Rescued Off $10K eBay Boat

Sedona hoist

Yet another mid-winter North Atlantic Coast Guard helicopter rescue. Not off a new boat this time, but off an old 43-foot Carroll Marine racing sled, Sedona (built in 1995), that an Australian, Jason McGlashan, age 37, bought on eBay for $10,000 US. Apparently the price was too low to resist, and Jason and his dad, Reg, age 66, flew into Rhode Island a while back to prep the boat for a delivery back to Oz. The eyebrow-raising bits are that a) they departed from Jamestown last Friday, right in front of the huge blizzard we endured this weekend, and b) apparently the Coast Guard, as well as someone who had worked on the boat, strongly warned the duo not to leave.

The evacuation, via an MH-60 Jayhawk out of Cape Cod, took place 150 miles south of Nantucket around 9 a.m. yesterday after Jason asked for assistance and reported that Sedona was without power, with shredded sails. By the time the Aussies were safe and sound aboard the CG chopper, the wind was reportedly blowing 60 mph and seas were running at 25 feet. The air temperature was 35 degrees; water temperature was 43.


As usual, you can catch the action courtesy of a CG video:

According to a report in the Newport Daily News, Sedona originally belonged to and was raced by Len Hubbard of Jamestown, who donated the boat to an unnamed charity, which subsequently listed it for sale on eBay. According to an anonymous source cited by the gCaptain website, Hubbard got rid of the boat because its hull was delaminating. Hubbard also reportedly brought the McGlashans some food prior to their departure.

Sedona with old owners

From left to right: Reg McGlashan, Len and Jill Hubbard (the boat’s prior owners), and Jason McGlashan (Photo courtesy of the Newport Daily News)

Aboard Sedona

Reg and Jason down below (Photo courtesy of the Newport Daily News)

Jason, a sailor since childhood, planned to take Sedona to Port Macquarie, Australia, via the Cape of Good Hope and the Southern Ocean and expected the voyage to last 6-8 weeks. He hoped eventually to sail her on a record attempt around Australia.

“We’ve never done anything like this,” Jason told the Newport Daily News. “Dad’s not even a sailor, but he’s a quick study. 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.”

Sedona deck

Jason McGlashan aboard Sedona yesterday morning, prior to being evacuated

We have no details as to exactly what was going wrong on the boat, so it would be presumptuous to second-guess the McGlashans’ decision to call for help. It seems, however, we may know enough to speculate a bit about their decision to set off in the first place. If it’s true the Coast Guard felt they shouldn’t leave, and warned them not to, I have to wonder why they weren’t simply ordered to stay in port, as happened to George McKay and his ludicrous galleon up in Rockland, Maine, several years back.

The forum chatter is also full of questions about whether the McGlashans should have to pay for their rescue, given the circumstances. Speaking both as someone who has  been rescued by the Coast Guard, and as a taxpayer, I do believe there should be some mechanism for deciding when compensation is appropriate. I don’t think any of us who were aboard Be Good Too last year would be at all uncomfortable describing our adventure to a tribunal.

The important thing, of course, is that the McGlashans are safe, and once again we must give thanks for that to the Coast Guard, who really had their work cut out for them this time. The weather was so bad I barely left the house this past weekend; I can’t imagine what it was like swimming off Nantucket.

IN OTHER NEWS: Sailing Anarchy has just published a nice account by Jen Edney (one of my favorite up-and-coming sailing photogs) about a delivery aboard the latest Gunboat 55, Toccata, from North Carolina to Miami. SA hints that more news concerning hull no. 1, Rainmaker, which was recently abandoned off North Carolina, is forthcoming, so I’m wondering about that salvage attempt Gunboat CEO Peter Johnstone said would be undertaken.

Also, I was remiss in not mentioning the loss of Flyin’ Hawaiian earlier this month.

Flyin Hawaiian

Built in a parking lot by James Lane, who dreamed of voyaging to Hawaii, this craft, constructed of plywood and 2x4s, was 65 feet long and weighed 8 tons

Another home-built monstrosity in the tradition of Raw Faith (except it seemed a bit tidier, I have to say), Flyin’ Hawaiian generated much controversy around San Francisco Bay before foundering off the coast with five crew aboard, who were plucked from peril (once again) by Coast Guard helicopters.

God love ’em.

For more details you can check out this post by Clark Beek, my compatriot at SAILfeed.

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3 Responses
  1. Don Joyce

    Sigh………I understand that going to sea in the winter used to be a traditional (and apparently approved) New England form of population control

  2. Bruce

    The most important decision any sailor makes is whether to leave the dock. These two are lucky to be alive. The only good news is they didn’t get too far. If they went any further with their absurd plan, they most certainly would have perished.

  3. Kristin

    As I sat in my office in Sedona,AZ – 3/4’s of a continent away in the arid Southwest desert I was surprised to hear they set out in such poor conditions. I can’t imagine what they were thinking to take a boat they don’t know, half the crew with no sailing experience out in questionable weather. The Coast Guard saved them from the Dawins list.

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