US Sailing awards rescue medals

Published on January 11th, 2022

The US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee awarded the prestigious Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to two California crews who performed man-overboard rescues during offshore races in 2020 and 2021. The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is an award given to skippers and/or crews of pleasure boats or race support vessels who effect rescues of victims from the water.

The purposes of the award are to recognize the significant accomplishment in seamanship which has saved a life, and to collect further case studies in rescues for analysis for the US Sailing Safety-at-Sea Committee which will eventually be incorporated into the extensive educational programs of US Sailing.

Carolyn Sherman, Sandra Sherman, and Brian Fritzges, crew of Sea Maiden, an Erickson 35 were recognized for their quick response in saving Mike Dore, who fell overboard during the August 29, 2020 Stephanie Jean Navirdes Memorial Race Your Own Household race on Northern San Diego Bay.

Mike Dore, a competitor in the race, was single handling his Hunter 28.5 Decoy and fell overboard when a shackle pin on the lifeline came out when he was putting up the whisker pole.

The skipper of Sea Maiden, Carolyn Sherman, with crew Sandra Sherman and Brian Fritzges were sailing abeam approximately 3-4 boat lengths away. Because Mike was sailing alone, not only was he in the water, but his boat was sailing unattended toward Harbor Island. Brian Fritzges dove into the bay to assist Mike. Carolyn and Sandra continued sailing toward Mike’s boat to get it under control.

As Sea Maiden was able to overtake Decoy, Sandra jumped onto Mike Dore’s boat and took control of the unmanned vessel. During this same time, another competitor Roy Mumma (Bolero) was sailing by and retrieved both Mike Dore and his rescuer Brian Fritzges out of the water.

Len Bose, Peter Heck, Steve Natvig, Chris Vilicich, James Malm, Kenneth Sherb, and Taylor Schlub were awarded the medal for their quick response in saving John Shulze, the owner of Horizon, a Santa Cruise 50 sloop on which they were racing. Shulze was thrown overboard on the evening of May 31, 2021 during the Monterey Yacht Club’s Coastal Cup regatta.

As Horizon and a competitor converged on Point Conception, Horizon made the call to gybe back into the breeze to maintain an advantage. As the maneuver was being executed, the spinnaker clew made it past the head-stay but the main had not completed the gybe. As a 25-knot puff hit the boat, the main sail suddenly gybed at the same time the chute filled causing Horizon to violently round up into the wind, throwing owner Shulze overboard.

The crew quickly got Horizon under control and deployed a Lifesling to facilitate the rescue. After several attempts to maneuver the boat close enough to Shulze, they were finally successful in retrieving him after Steve Natvig donned an inherently buoyant life jacket and swam out to effect Schultze’s rescue. For full details, click here.

To nominate someone for the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal, click here.

Source: US Sailing

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