Record-Seeker Requires Rescue
Published on May 17th, 2016
Olivier Jehl was attempting to establish a singlehanded transatlantic record, sailing his 21-foot Mini 6.50 from New York to Lizard Point in England. But after his departure on Sunday, May 15, the US Coast Guard were called in to rescue the French sailor on Monday at approximately 90 miles off Atlantic City.
Jehl’s boat had hit a submerged object and began sinking, after which he deployed his emergency raft and used an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) to alert the Coast Guard of the distress situation and location.
An HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Massachusetts, launched to search for Jehl, who used flares to identify his location.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City arrived on scene at approximately 4:40 a.m., hoisted Jehl, and transferred him back to Air Station Atlantic City, where he could make further arrangements. There were no reported medical concerns.
“This case was a perfect example of how to be prepared for the worst case scenario,” said Capt. Peter Mingo, the commanding officer of Air Station Atlantic City. “Personal beacons, life rafts, exposure suits and flares were the key to Mr. Jehl being able to effect his own rescue via the U.S. Coast Guard.”
No one had previously attempted such the 2800 nm passage in the Mini 6.50, a popular solo class in Europe. Jehl had hoped to complete the crossing in 15 days.
Jehl was among the fleet of 72 solo sailors that competed in the 2015 Mini Transat, finishing 11th in the prototype division. The 2-stage 4000 mile event began in France, stopping in the Canary Islands before concluding in Guadeloupe.