OCEAN CITY — A U.S. Navy ship and a Coast Guard rescue boat out of Station Ocean City teamed up to rescue of a disabled sailboat about 50 miles off the coast of the resort early last Thursday morning.
Shortly after 6 a.m. last Thursday, the sailboat “Solarus” with two men aboard radioed they were in distress about 50 miles off the coast of Ocean City and were taking on water at a rapid rate. The two men were sailing the “Solarus” from South Carolina to Rhode Island were passing by the Ocean City coast on their northern journey.
The U.S. Navy ship “William McLean,” a military sealift command dry cargo and ammunition ship, was in the area and received the distress call and headed toward the coordinates provided by the “Solarus” about 50 miles off the coast of the resort. The “Solarus” had suffered a two-foot crack in its hull and its bilge pump could not keep up with the amount of water rushing into it.
As it drew closer to the “Solarus,” the “McLean” launched one of its fast rescue boats with a dewatering pump on board. The “McLean” crew found the two men on board otherwise unharmed although they were clearly in distress with their sailboat taking on water at a rapid rate 50 miles off the coast.
The “Solarus” was brought alongside the “McLean” to shelter it somewhat from the rough seas while the rescue and repair effort was undertaken. Once the bilge was pumped out and dewatered, the source of the leak was discovered, a two-foot crack in the vessel’s hull.
Materials were brought on board to affect a temporary fix of the sailboat’s hull and stem the flow of water into the bilge. With the sailboat at least temporarily stabilized, the “McLean” then escorted the “Solarus” to a pre-appointed rendezvous point with the 47-foot Coast Guard rescue boat out of Station Ocean City. The Navy vessel escorted the “Solarus” through four-to six-foot seas with winds at 25 knots for about two hours before rendezvousing with the Coast Guard rescue boat out of Station Ocean City. Two Coast Guard Ocean City crewmembers then boarded the “Solarus,” which was escorted into Coast Guard Station Ocean City.