Three crew and a dog rescued from 53ft catamaran that 'broke in half' in textbook operation by US Coastguard

A crew of three men, a woman and a dog were rescued by the US Coast Guard on Christmas Eve when their 53ft Wharram catamaran Nootka Dancer reportedly broke in half off Jacksonville, Florida.

The distress was put out at 1953 on 24 December. The Coast Guard launched a 25ft response boat to the yacht’s location some two miles east of Talbot Island, and a casino boat in the area also volunteered to come to the yacht crew’s aid.

As the catamaran broke up, the four crew of the yacht abandoned to a liferaft, and it was from this that they – and the dog – were rescued at 2015. The response time was incredibly quick, with the crew being rescued less than half an hour after asking for help.

The yacht, Nootka Dancer, is a bluewater cruiser designed by British catamaran pioneer James Wharram, built 23 years ago and modified by Canadian sailor John Eisen for heavier displacement to accommodate the extra gear and systems he wished to incorporate, and the boat sported an Aerorig freestanding rig.

A cruiser who knew the rescued crew commented on the rescue: ‘Oh no! We just watched them leave from Brunswick Georgia. They have worked their guts out for years getting that boat ready.”