On Sunday December 12th and Monday the 13th, we finished up some needed repairs on Makara’s fuel tanks. As forecasted, the wind blew hard from the south during that time. We decided to wait until 11 am on Tuesday at high tide to depart, as the winds were forecast to turn, or “clock” to the west. The previous owner, Tyler, agreed to come along and show us how things worked as we sailed along.
The six-foot waves from the south were tough to sail against, and beating to weather is never fun. We kept on a somewhat comfortable angle to the wind and waves for the rest of the day. We were definitely not heading directly to our destination in Southport, NC but we were sailing! We headed offshore.
Apparently, a solo sailor on a forty foot boat was about 60 miles offshore and in distress at the same time we were heading out to sea! I can only assume he was heading south like everyone else and was off Cape Hatteras over the weekend’s heavy weather. Anyway, his distress call was heard and he was airlifted as you can see in this video. I could be critical and try to assume why he got into trouble but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
THEN, about 12 hours later, we spotted flares coming from the direction of Camp Lejeune. It may have been explosions from military exercises, we don’t know. That’s why when we saw several long-lasting amber flares at about the same time in the direction of the open sea, about 30 or 40 miles offshore, we thought they were more military exercises. Then we heard a call from a passing military vessel by the name of Button. They were asking if we had heard a distress call, as they could not make it out clearly and were no longer getting the transmission. We told him we saw flares but thought they came from them! The radio man aboard the military ship Button said, no, they were not their flares. The flares were well off their stern when they saw them. They then proceeded to relay the distress call to the Coast Guard in Charlotte, SC. They also hailed a freighter that was passing the area where the flares were seen. Because we don’t have a very powerful VHF like a military or Coast Guard vessel does, we didn’t hear any more about those flares. We were too small to assist anyone in that weather so we were not asked to do anything, in case you were wondering if we were supposed to help.
It seems weird there were two emergencies twelve hours apart in the same area. Lindsay mentioned there might have been a mixup in the am and pm of the reporting on this story. There is a very good chance we saw this man’s flares that night. This is quite possibly “b-roll” of previous rescues, as that is in the title on the Coast Guard website. As Captain Ron says “Nobody knows!”
We are glad he is safe and it is unfortunate he left his vessel at sea.