The US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee will award the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medals to a sailboat’s crew and to a skipper of another capsized sailboat for their heroic efforts displayed during a boat collision, sinking and rescue at the 2015 Fairhope Yacht Club Dauphin Island Race in Mobile Bay, Ala.
On April 25, 2015 a storm moved through Mobile Bay with near hurricane force winds. A storm of this strength had not been predicted and it wreaked havoc among the fleet. Eight boats sank during the storm, 40 people required rescue, and tragically, six lives were lost.
Team 4G, a Catalina 22, owned and skippered by Larry Goolsby, was making their way to the finish line of the Dauphin Island Regatta when they were overtaken by the oncoming storm. The first blast of wind broached their boat, but they managed to get it on its feet. While trying to recover from a second broach, a larger 40-foot sailboat slammed into them driving over the top of Team 4G and pushing the rig down and underneath the water. Team 4G began to sink.
Crew members Rob Eaves and Tony Cellamare jumped clear just prior to impact. Skipper Larry Goolsby remained onboard, grabbed the port lifelines of the larger boat and managed to climb aboard. With his fellow crew calling for help, and the distance separating them quickly, Goolsby jumped back into the water with a life ring to help his fellow crewmates Eaves and Cellamare and called for them to swim towards one another. Team 4G had sunk below the surface.
All three sailors now clung to the single life ring, as the only flotation they had. The 40-foot sailboat sailed away, did not offer any additional assistance, did not make radio calls for help, and has not been identified since.
A 39-foot O’Day sailboat named, Light O Mobile, and skippered by Ed Cornell spotted the crew of Team 4G in the water who were waving frantically. With the storm still in force Ed Cornell directed his crew and boat while fighting strong winds and rough seas. One of their sails was shredded during the rescue, but they managed to get close enough to bring Goolsby, Cellamare, and Eaves safely aboard.
One Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded to Goolsby for selflessly going to the rescue of his fellow crew, and a second Arthur B. Rescue Medal is awarded to the rescuing crew on Light O Mobile, including Eddie Cornell, Barre Dumas, Clark Dumas, Pat McPhillips, Robert Rasp, Richard Mather, Paul Toler, and James Dennis.
The award ceremony and dinner will take place at the Rome Sailing Club in Leesburg, Ala. on August 29, 2015 at 5:30 pm.
The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded 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.
The medal was established in 1990 by friends of the late Mr. Hanson, an ocean-racing sailor from the Chesapeake Bay, with the purpose of recognizing significant accomplishments in seamanship and collecting case studies of rescues for analysis by the Safety at Sea Committee of US Sailing for use in educational and training programs. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal.
Visit the US Sailing Hanson Rescue Medal website for more information about these awards, including nomination form instructions and guidelines.
by Jake Fish, US Sailing