Jamaican Defense Force ship "Middlesex"

Jamaican Defense Force ship “Middlesex”

This case is an example of the various Ham Radio networks, coming together to assist rescue resources, in this situation, the Jamaica Defense Force.

Ham Radio and Single Side Band Communication can provide the constant voice on the radio that is so helpful during an emergency. Maritime Mobile Service Net Controller, Ken Porter and Chris Parker, Marine Weather assisted greatly with this case. The following are some of the emails sent and received during this episode.

From: Ken Porter
Date: January 4, 2018 at 6:39:56 PM EST

At 22:50 UTC (17:50EST) I was called by VE0KMP/MM on 14.300 USB.  Capt. Jim reported no engine due to leak on fresh water inlet, lost 2 head sails. He was underway on Mainsail only to Jamaica. ETA 01/05 course 332M, spd 2-3 kts. position: 17N,77.11W. Capt. is Not Declaring an Emergency at this time. He is going to attempt repair on engine in AM 01/06. I have a schedule with him at 0900 EST 01/06 to update his status. If no copy on 14.300, will try on 7.268, both USB and LSB. Please pass on to all NCS’s on all 14.300 nets as well as Waterway net.
Thanks, Ken AC0ML

The SSCA HF Radio Service is attempting to assist the Maritime Mobile Service Net (MMSN) (14.300) in establishing communications with the S/V Solar Flare.

On January 4, 2018 at approximately 2250 UTC or 1750 hrs Eastern time, the S/V Solar Flare, amateur call VE0KMP, made contact with the MMSN to report they have lost their engine and blown out several head sails in route to Jamaica.

The Solar Flare is a 35’ sailboat. No further description available at this time. At the time of their call, they were located at position 17 N / 77.11 W, south of Jamaica on a COG of 332 and SOG 2 to 3 knots. They lost their engine due to a water leak on the engine.

On January 5, 2018, Chris Parker, Marine Weather & Communications reported the following communications: USCG – Miami’s RCC is aware of the situation, but requests Jamaica’s JDF initiate any request for assistance. I have been unable to reach JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) on any of several phone numbers (including one provided by USCG Miami’s RCC). Their situation as of last evening was their only propulsion is a mainsail, and they are not able to sail close to the wind without a jib. Wind is coming from the land, so they will make only very slow progress toward land. If “Solar Flair” requests immediate assistance, would call USCG MCC and request AMVER (Automated Mutual-assistance Vessel Rescue System) assistance.

As weather conditions deteriorated with winds in the 25 knot range and seas 15’+, they blew out their main sail, and declared an emergency. The Jamaican Defense Force ship, Middlesex, responded and took the couple aboard and attempted to tow the sailboat. However it was not feasible to tow, so the vessel was abandoned. They brought the couple to Jamaica.

On January 11, 2018 Glenn Tuttle made email contact with Solar Flare

Hi Jim & Kathy, I hope your recovery efforts are going well.  I’m just following up to see if I can close this case.  I hope you get the boat repaired in Kingstown and this will all be behind you soon, I spoke with Ken Porter today, and we are both interested and hope you will give us good news.

Best Regards,
Glenn Tuttle – Net Manager – Seven Seas Cruising Association HF Radio Service

S/V Solar Flair Update

Date: January 11, 2018 at 5:44:39 PM EST
To: Tuttle Glenn <parrotheddssca@gmail.com>

Hi Glenn, Thank you for everything. The boat has been located at L 18  13.171 N and Lo 78  15.973 W. The Salvage company man and the fisherman who had found it are planning to begin towing it back to Kingston tomorrow. Once here, we will figure out what the next steps are. Unfortunately it has been grounded then pulled off, and it has been boarded prior to being secured so we will have to inventory what has been taken. From a photo, we see the dinghy, outboard and solar panels are missing. Thank Ken as well. We can’t tell you how much it meant to have that voice on the radio checking on us!
Thank you Kathy and Jim