sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Kite surfers awarded Hanson Rescue Medals

Kite surfers awarded Hanson Rescue Medals

'Kiteboarding, San Francisco'    Erik Simonson/ h2oshots.com ©    Click Here to view large photo

The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing) is the national governing body for sailing and provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States.

Hanson Kite Surfer Spiller -  US Sailing?nid=83192_©  
US Sailing will award three Hanson Rescue Medals to kite surfers Jeff Spiller, Paolo Frediani and Jeff Harrison for a rescue made off the coast of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach on April 9, 2011.

The conditions that Saturday were extremely rough with wind speeds exceeding 25 knots and gusts up to 45 knots. Ten-foot waves were estimated on Ocean Beach. As the three kite surfers approached the surf line they noticed debris in the water, while standing on their surfboards and being towed by large kites 70 feet in the air. They came upon a man in a small rigid inflatable boat (RIB). The man was Captain Roger Christiansen (San Anselmo, Calif.), 52, of the 43-foot tugboat Richardson Bay. In an attempt to recover a lost skiff, the tugboat, with its two-man crew, was about a half-mile offshore when it took heavy seas over her bow and proceeded to sink. Christiansen and his mate were forced to abandon ship and enter the frigid waters due to the extreme conditions.

About a quarter-mile outside the surf line, Spiller noticed Christiansen in the inflatable dinghy with its motor unengaged. The dinghy was being blown towards the beach by the high winds. 'My plan was to tail the guy in and possibly offer assistance because he was in for a horrible beating through the surf,' said Spiller.

After assuring the kite surfers that he did not require assistance, Christiansen instructed them to find his mate, who he said was in distress. 'My first tough decision was to go for the guy in the water and leave the guy in the dinghy to spotters on the beach and highway,' said Spiller.

The kite surfers followed the debris line up and down the beach and made their way further out to sea and scanned the horizon for a rescue craft. After about ten minutes they spotted a second man in the life ring waving and yelling for help. As Spiller approached the victim, he remembered a key rescue skill – protect yourself and never rush into an ocean rescue with a distressed swimmer. Spiller noticed that the swimmer was clutching a life ring, which relieved Spiller of the concern that he could be pulled underwater by the victim. The victim was having trouble staying upright in the steep waves, so Spiller looped the life ring over his left arm to stabilize the victim. He consoled the victim and ensured they were going to help him.

Hanson Spiller beach -  US Sailing?nid=83192_©  
Meanwhile, Harrison and Frediani, were on the way to intercept an approaching Coast Guard boat that was responding to a call and attracted by the kites. Harrison and Frediani had made it safely to the 85-foot Coast Guard rescue boat, but the vessel was not making its way towards Spiller and the victim. Now Spiller had another difficult decision to make. He took several factors into consideration, including the man’s condition, distance to the beach, distance to the rescue vessel, risk of beach landing and personal physical condition. He decided to go for a beach landing.

Spiller kept his left arm looped in the life ring, pushed his board away, and while still flying the kite with his right hand he dragged the man towards the treacherous waves and beach.

'I wouldn't really advise this to anyone,' stated Spiller. 'The safe and wise call would be to stay with the man and wait if possible. Waves are powerful and dangerous, especially to the soaking, freezing and recently shipwrecked.' As they approached the outer breaking waves, Spiller noticed the Coast Guard boat making its way down the beach towards them. He made the decision to start dragging the victim back out to sea for an easier boat landing and quicker and less risky rescue attempt. Ten minutes later, Spiller was able to communicate with the Coast Guard and position himself and the victim so they could take a line from a crewman.

'This isn’t that easy or safe while flying a powerful kite, but it was done adequately enough to get around the victim, and the Coast Guard was able to haul him aboard and to safety,' explained Spiller. The 53-year old man was transported to Marin General Hospital where he was treated for mild hypothermia and shock.

'A kite can be very unpredictable, hard to handle and dangerous to the user and anyone they are trying to aid,' Spiller commented. 'The lines can easily wrap around vulnerable areas and cause damage. On the other hand, search patterns can be performed with great efficiency when traveling at speeds from 8 to 20 knots. These extreme conditions do not hinder kiters’ maneuverability from moving effectively through the water at great speeds.'

Coast Guard Lt. Andrew Kennedy praised Spiller in an interview with the San Francisco Examiner : 'He really, in all honesty, saved his life by keeping him above water until we could get there.'

Tragically, Christensen did not survive the incident. After fire department personnel on shore reported seeing the RIB capsized by a large wave, the Coast Guard conducted an unsuccessful 8½ hour search with three boats and a helicopter over a 44-mile area. Days later his body was recovered near Fort Funston.

Harrison recalled, 'One of the more haunting memories of the event for me was coming over the top of a 10-foot swell after kite surfing a wave and seeing Captain Christiansen sitting at the helm of the tug’s RIB in his street clothes – no wetsuit, no life suit, no life vest on, just his street clothes. He was very calm and never showed distress. His last wishes were that we go and help his mate, which we did. I don't think he knew what kind of surf he was about to deal with, which makes me sad.'

US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee member John Rousmaniere commented on this rescue: 'Some people may not consider kite surfing to be a form of boating. However, these three sailors were dedicated to the centuries-old tradition that mariners care for other mariners by going to their rescue if need be, even if it may put the rescuers' lives at risk. This links all US Sailing Hanson Rescue Medal winners into an exclusive community.'

Hanson Spiller Kite -  US Sailing?nid=83192_©  
The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded by US Sailing’s Safety-at-Sea Committee to any person who rescues or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other perils at sea within the territorial waters of the United States, or as part of a sailboat race or voyage that originated or stopped in the U.S. Since it was established in 1990 by friends of the late Mr. Hanson, an ocean-racing sailor from the Chesapeake Bay, the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal has been presented to more than 170 boats. In the most recent 20 Hanson-award winning rescues, a total of 37 lives were saved.

Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal. For more information, including nomination forms, please click here.

For the most authoritative daylong seminar on safe seamanship, heavy weather tactics, weather forecasting, communications and boat preparation, register for an upcoming US Sailing Safety-at-Sea Seminar. Please visit the US Sailing Safety-at-Sea Seminar site for details on these certification opportunities here.

US Sailing website




by Jake Fish

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=83192

2:25 PM Thu 5 May 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


News - USA and the World











































International Moth Worlds: Rashley ahead as Aussies close in by Mark Jardine / YachtsandYachting.com,




















International Moth Worlds - Mothballed on day 4 + Video by Mark Jardine / YachtsandYachting.com,




Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature
29er North American Championship - Day 1 in Kingston
Red Bull 49erFX: First look at the Olympic sailing venue at Rio
Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam - Classic conditions on day 3
NYYC Race Week Part II images by Rolex/Daniel Forster
Drowning or electric shock? What you need to know to help save a life
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 1
Six Metre European Championship - Blazing sunshine on opening day
National Sailing Hall of Fame to present Lifetime Achievement Award
International Moth Worlds: Greenhalgh and Rashley tied at the top
PWA Pozo World Cup - Fantastic finale determines winners
Six Metre Class British Open Championship - Llanoria and Valhalla win
Anna Tunnicliffe set to compete at the CrossFit Games
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA holds foiling camp at Wangi SC
Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi OR completes double Atlantic crossing
Volvo Ocean Race: Team SCA has a 'pull through day' off the Canaries
No tiller sailing - how to steer using just the sails + Video
International Moth Worlds: Three bullets in a row for Greenhalgh
U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship - Sophia Reineke wins
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 0 Opening
Fuerteventura World Cup - Slalom action highlights day 2   
2014 Governor's Cup - Sam Gilmour of RFBYC victorious again   
Farr 40 West Coast Champ - Skipper Alberto Rossi leads Enfant Terrible   
Flying Dutchman World Championships - Magyars are the Masters   
Final day shakes up standings at Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek   
2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica pushing towards Southampton   
NYYC Race Week - Saving the best for last   
VX One North American Championship - Chris Alexander commands   
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Waiting game on Day 3   
International Moth Worlds: Thunderstorms delay racing on Day 1   
Fuerteventura World Cup - Impressive tricks on day 1   
2014 Governor's Cup - Two former winners in the finals   
America's Cup: Iain Murray explains reasons for Australian withdrawal *Feature   
Wilson and Roble remain number one match racers in U.S.   
2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Set to start   
PWA Pozo World Cup - Moreno twins dominate home spot   
ISAF Youth Worlds - Record breaking regatta in Tavira + Video   
Melges 32 European Championship - Robertissima remains out front   
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Italians take one-point lead   
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Carlo Borlenghi   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT