Two Sayward RCMP Mounties are credited with possibly saving the lives of two sailors taking part in an international race, whose broken boat was being driven to the rocks by high winds.
On June 10, members of the Sayward RCMP were alerted that the Canadian Coast Guard were unable to assist a sailboat in distress three miles north of Sayward in the Johnstone Strait, as their nearest vessel was two hours away. Sgt. Richard Boyle and Const. Evan Hobbs set out to assist from Sayward, experiencing strong winds of 30 to 40 knots, changing tide and very rough six-foot high seas. After a very challenging 30-minute journey, Mounties located the stranded sailors and towed their broken vessel to the Sayward Wharf.
“Having been previously stationed to a detachment near the ocean, I have considerable experience operating an RCMP vessel and have yet to encounter conditions that severe,” says Boyle of the Island District RCMP.
“Wednesday’s experience is one I will not soon forget. We are so glad we were able to get there in time,” says Hobbs of Sayward RCMP.
The sailors, two brothers from Anacortes, Washington, were sailing their vessel in the Race to Alaska which started in Port Townsend, Washington with a destination to Ketchikan, Alaska.
They had stopped in Sayward earlier in the day to perform some repairs and set out before dark, hoping to sail as far as Port McNeill. Both sailors advised that the wind and seas picked up shortly after dark, causing their aluminum mast to snap in two.
When asked about the rescue, Lars Strandberk said, “I am most impressed by those officers. They went beyond the scope of their duties, braving difficult conditions to save our vessel and possibly our lives. Who knows what could have happened?”