HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The Coast Guard and Royal Australian navy responded to a distress call from the crew of a demasted sailing vessel off Makapu’u Point, Saturday.
A Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew is currently towing the vessel to Kaneohe Bay.
There are four boaters aboard the sailboat, and there are no reports of injuries.
At 12:45 p.m., Hawaii Emergency Services notified Sector Honolulu watchstanders of a 911 call from the crew of the 38-foot sailing vessel Gypsy, a Catalina sloop, demasted and disabled 4-miles east of Makapu’u Point. The Station Honolulu RB-M crew was launched to assist the vessel.
Simultaneously, the Royal Australian navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156) crew was operating 5-miles north of the disabled vessel and diverted to render assistance.
Once on scene, the Toowoomba launched a three-person rescue and response team who were able to assist the sloop’s crew in getting the vessel's mast out of the water and preparing the vessel for a tow. The RB-M arrived on the scene, put the vessel in tow, and proceeded to bring it back to Oahu.
The cause of the mast damage is not currently known. The weather at the time was reportedly 8-foot seas and 20 mph winds with gusts up to 31 mph.
The Toowoomba crew is conducting training missions in the Pacific Ocean as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. The frigate supports approximately 170 Sailors.
RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise and offers a uniquely complex and challenging multinational environment for forces to hone their skills. Participants this year include more than 25,000 personnel from 25 nations.