Just 29 hours after rescuing a team of rowers participating in the 2,400-mile Great Pacific Race, the U.S. Coast Guard performed a second helicopter rescue off the San Luis Obispo County coast Sunday morning.
Chief Petty Officer Rachel Polish said a single rower competing in the race from Monterey to Honolulu contacted the Coast Guard for assistance about 2:11 a.m. Sunday.
The rower, who was about 52 miles off the coast of Morro Bay at the time, Polish said, was “banged-up” from capsizing several times in the rough waves during the night. After speaking with the Coast Guard by satellite phone, he decided he needed to be pulled from the race. Organizers identified the rower as Jim Bauer, 65, of San Diego. He was in “reasonable medical condition,” according to the race website.
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“A lot of planning was involved in this particular rescue, due to low visibility and challenging weather conditions,” said Lt. Cmdr. Blake McKinney, a Coast Guard pilot based in San Francisco who was involved in Bauer’s rescue.
The rower was well-equipped for the race, filing a float plan, bringing a satellite phone and ensuring he had appropriate gear for the rough seas, McKinney said. Those preparations “increased his chance for survival,” the official said.
Bauer was lifted out of his boat shortly after 6 a.m., Polish said. He was taken to the Monterey Regional Airport, where emergency teams evaluated him before taking him to a hospital for further examination.
“Our thanks go out to the members of USCG Sector 11-San Francisco for their actions in ensuring the safety of the participants in the Great Pacific Race,” race organizers wrote in the statement.
Sunday’s rescue is the second made off the San Luis Obispo County coast this weekend. Early Saturday morning, the Coast Guard rescued four rowers on one race team about
75 miles west of San Luis Obispo after their boat began to take on water. All four were in good condition following the rescue.
Just seven of the 13 entrants remain in the race, including a single solo rower. The rest of the crews are either pairs or consist of four people.