Rescue recognized by US Sailing

Published on July 5th, 2023

The US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee awarded the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to the crew of the J/133 Vamoose for their rescue of three sailors aboard Buddy, a 44-foot trimaran on December 4, 2022. The medal was presented in a ceremony at the National Sailing Hall of Fame on June 16, 2023.

The crew of Vamoose were awarded the medal by Margaret Pommert, Chairperson of the US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal Selection Committee and Dick York, Chairperson of the US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee.

The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded to any person who rescues or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other perils at sea within the territorial waters of the United States, or as part of a sailboat race or voyage that originated or stopped in the U.S.

The medal was established in 1990 by friends of the late Mr. Hanson, an ocean-racing sailor from the Chesapeake Bay, with the purpose of recognizing significant accomplishments in seamanship and collecting case studies of rescues for analysis by the Safety at Sea Committee of US Sailing for use in educational and training programs. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal.

Rescue Report:
On December 1st, 2022, Laura Shulman, Ryan Finn, and Tomasz Dvorak departed Woods Hole, MA to deliver s/v Buddy, a 44’ trimaran, to Puerto Rico. As Buddy headed south, they noticed another vessel on AIS; Vamoose, a J/133 which had departed the same day in transit to Antigua. Buddy hailed Vamoose, and the two boats discussed their respective vessels and passage plans.

At approximately 4 AM December 4th, Buddy began to slow down, then came to a complete stop. Ryan Finn came on deck to see what was happening. A quick look to leeward showed the port ama (outrigger float) underwater with only the deck visible. Buddy began to slowly capsize over the next four hours.

The crew doused the sails, put on life jackets, and began untying the rigid inflatable dinghy they had lashed to the port trampoline. Buddy could only motor at 1 knot at full throttle, and there was no steerage with the weight/drag of all the water in the port ama.

At roughly 6 AM, the port ama started to fall apart, with about 8’ torn away between the beams. Seas were reported at 10’-15’, winds 25-30 knots with 53 knot gusts recorded.

During this time, Buddy hailed on their VHF radio. Vamoose was about 11 nm away and the on-watch crew was maintaining VHF watch in the cockpit. They responded to the VHF call, and asked if Buddy was in distress.

Buddy decided to abandon ship and asked Vamoose to rescue them, giving their location. Vamoose agreed, coming to their location and standing by as they abandoned ship into their 10’ inflatable dinghy. Vamoose motored into position for the dinghy to drift down to them, and the entire crew of Buddy, as well as their gear, were safely boarded.

This rescue took place approximately 400 NM East of Cape Hatteras. The closest land was Bermuda, approximately 250 NM away, where the rescued crew were delivered 29 hours later.

For their situational awareness, watchkeeping, and outstanding seamanship resulting in the rescue of three sailors on a sinking vessel, US Sailing awarded the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to the rescuing crew of s/v Vamoose:
• Geoff Manchester – Owner/Captain/Communication/Nav – Newport, RI
• William Dresser – Helm – Hingham, MA
• Chris Lash – Watch Captain – Cambridge, MA
• Tim McKenna – Crewmember – Chicago, IL

William Dresser, Geoff Manchester, and Tim McKenna (Chris Lash not pictured). Photo: US Sailing / Lexi Pline


Here are additional reports from onboard Buddy and Vamoose.

Source: US Sailing

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