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Monday, June 18, 2012 - Page updated at 10:00 p.m.
Solo sailor rescued after boat hits whale
By JOHN S. MARSHALL
The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — A Northern California man who was rescued from his sinking sailboat off the coast of Mexico spent Father's Day on a freighter bound for Panama, but his wife hopes to see him in time for their 23rd wedding anniversary.
Max Young, of Sacramento, was sailing alone late Tuesday about 40 miles west of La Playa, Mexico, when his 50-foot boat was hit by a whale, lost its steering and started taking on water, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela Boehland said. The impact knocked out the boat's steering, Boehland said.
Young's wife, Debra Young, who has been able to talk to her husband while he's on board the merchant ship, said he's not expected to make it to Sacramento until early Monday or Tuesday of next week, a day or two after their anniversary.
"The fact that Young was prepared with all the right safety equipment helped save his life," said Lt. Charles Kelly, of the Coast Guard's command center in Alameda, Calif. "His EPIRB (emergency beacon) delivered an exact position to us, contact information that allowed us to quickly discern the sail plan of and number of persons on the vessel, and really took a lot of the search out of the search and rescue."
Officials at the command center were able to immediately direct the merchant ship, which was about 60 miles away, to the sinking craft.
Young stuffed a mattress into the hole, turned on four bilge pumps and was trying to bail out water as fast as he could, Debra Young said.
When the freighter arrived around 4 a.m. Wednesday, Young scrambled off his boat by a rope ladder thrown by the ship's crew. He was unharmed.
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