Defending doomed departure

Published on February 17th, 2015

by Jon Schuppe, NBC News
An Australian sailor and his father showed up in Jamestown, Rhode Island, late last year and quickly became curiosities. They’d bought a 20-year-old racing boat off eBay, sight unseen, and planned to repair it and sail it back home to Australia, starting out in the middle of a brutal New England winter.

“Everyone I think who knew about this thing thought it was a little crazy,” recalled Leonard Hubbard, the boat’s previous owner, who befriended the McGlashans, helped them, and urged them to wait for better weather.

Last Friday (Feb. 13), after weeks of delays, Jason McGlashan, 37, and his father Reg McGlashan, 66, set sail in the 43-foot vessel, named Sedona, on their once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The latest in a series of powerful storms was approaching, but they thought they could outrun the weather on their way south toward Bermuda.

The first day passed smoothly. But a series of mishaps left them with a ripped sail and a failed engine at 4 a.m. Sunday — in surging, storm-driven waves about 150 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

They sent an alert beacon, and four hours later, the crew of a Coast Guard helicopter arrived. With wind gusting to nearly 60 mph and the sea swelling to 25 feet, they plucked the McGlashans from the 43-degree water in a daring rescue recorded on video. No one was injured.

Recovering Monday (Feb. 16) at a Coast Guard base near Falmouth, Massachusetts, Jason McGlashan, who works in the mining industry, said his only regret was forcing the rescuers, whom he called “true professionals,” to brave such dangerous conditions. That, and leaving his boat behind. He’d planned to race the Sedona out of his hometown of Port Macquarie, Australia.

He also answered critics who said he and his father, a retired financial broker with little sailing experience, acted recklessly.

“Most people, you will find, don’t know all the facts, but will try and say things,” Jason McGlashan told NBC News an interview conducted over Facebook. “If anyone sat down and worked things out they would understand why we left.” – Full story

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