I'm the proud owner of a 25-foot Catalina sailboat. I have sailed and anchored at the Channel Islands extensively for over five years. I feel that I'm a cautious and responsible sailor, but recently I found out that sometimes that is not enough.
On April 7, my wife and I departed on what was meant to be a pleasant sail and overnight anchor at Santa Cruz Island. Four days later we found ourselves two days overdue, low on food, and with dead batteries unable to make radio contact with anyone. For nearly 40 straight hours we had been pounded by 40-knot gale-force winds.
Luckily, with the aid of a small solar panel, we were able to get off a weak signal over our marine radio. Luckier still, the Channel Islands Coast Guard picked up our signal and, coupled with information we had left with relatives, were able to locate us at Smuggler's Cove. You can't imagine the relief we felt when we unexpectedly sighted Channel Islands Guard Boat No. 44356 and its crew off our stern. Due to the bad weather we elected to abandon our boat (which later was towed in by a private company at an exorbitant cost) and boarded the Coast Guard boat.
The professional, courteous and friendly manner in which the crew conducted themselves immediately put my wife and I at ease. The onshore Coast Guard personnel were also especially sensitive when dealing with our understandably distraught relatives. My wife and I would like to publicly express our deep appreciation and gratitude to each of the following Channel Islands Coast Guard staff and crew: Officer of the Day Marcus Nicholson, Petty Officer Armand Legaspi, Fireman Aaron Bastian, Seaman Paul Chandler, Petty Officer Shaun Darrall, Petty Officer Josh Cronquist and Petty Officer Aaron Fenley.