Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

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Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.

It happened aboard the Swan 39 OxoMoxo, owned by Doug Frazer of the Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle when the crew noticed something strange in the water about 900 miles northeast of Hawaii.

“I was down below at the laptop,” remembers navigator Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski, “hoping to find a Snickers bar, which was still cold enough to eat—we were following the old rule of navigation if the butter starts melting you are too close to the center of the high—when I heard a call from the cockpit that we had just sailed past a sea turtle, which was alive and stuck in a fishing net.”

Immediately, Frazer not only ordered the crew to douse the spinnaker and genoa staysail—despite the fact they were trucking along at 6-7 knots—but donned a mask and fins and then jumped in the water to effect a rescue.

According to Klimaschewski, Frazer “grabbed onto the fishing net and pulled himself back toward the boat using the Lifesling [we] had deployed. When Doug made contact with the boat he handed off the fishing net to crewmember Preston Morgan on deck, who was able to pull the net off the turtle’s flipper. We didn’t want to get too close to the turtle, since he looked angry and wanted to bite. Doug climbed back aboard the boat using the swim ladder. That’s the last we saw of the turtle, as he swam away from the boat.”

He adds: “The entire rescue was (in my opinion) performed in a very seamanlike manner and completely under sail. Great crew work!”

We couldn’t agree more, all the more so since the crew also brought the mess of lethal fishing junk back to shore with them for proper disposal. Truly an example of seamanship, sportsmanship and an appreciation for the natural world at its finest! For complete details on this year’s Vic-Maui race, go to vicmaui.org

Photo courtesy of Vic-Maui race

October 2018

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