Turn­ing Tur­tle

SAIL - - Under Sail -

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 Mar­cAn­drea 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. s

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