CCAD Fishermen Rescue Sailors from Certain Fate
July 15, 2010
- Jason Perez, and his cousin, Aldo Morin found a sailor floating in a green life vest several miles from his capsized catamaran.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (July 10, 2010) - What began as a calm summer morning to find 'reds' lurking in the shallows of Corpus Christi Bay north of the Naval Air Station, changed rapidly after two fishermen caught site of an odd-looking, green item bobbing a short distance from their boat.
Jason Perez, an employee of the Corpus Christi Army Depot, and his cousin, Aldo Morin of Beeville, launched their 24-foot Carolina Skiff at 7 a.m., June 20, to find a few fish. What they found was a sailor floating in a green life vest several miles from his capsized catamaran.
"It was just another great day for fishing," said Perez. "The wind was about 5 to 10 miles an hour and the water was smooth."
"We headed from the [JFK] Causeway into the bay to fish around Oso bridge," he said. "When we started going back, around 12:30 p.m., I noticed something green floating on the water. It looked strange. Something wasn't quite right."
"When we got close, I noticed his arm," said Perez. "It took about ten to fifteen seconds for him to realize who we were."
That morning, Paul Sova, employed with the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center adjacent to CCAD, and his girlfriend, Anna Silverstein, readied the 16-foot Hobie Cat, launched from Sunfish Beach at NAS, then sailed the Intracoastal Waterway to Port Aransas. A great day for sailing, the wind was light but breezy and the water not-too-choppy.
The trip was smooth with the boat cutting along nicely. On the return journey, the wind growled and the chop grew. Sova was on the trapeze when the boat rode high on one pontoon, Anna shifted to the other side and over it went--sail and mast buried into the shallow depth of the bay.
After attempts to right the Hobie failed, they broke the "cardinal rule of boating," Sova said. "We left the boat to try and swim to shore."
Fortunately the couple wore life jackets because they didn't make the beach. They floated for more than three hours drifting miles from the boat.
Perez and Morin were about 250 yards from Sova when they spotted his green life jacket.
Sova, waterlogged and dazed, asked the men to look for his girlfriend. Perez and Morin pulled him into the boat then searched for the woman. Moments later, they found her a quarter mile away, arms waving.
After both sailors were in the skiff and regained their strength, Sova asked if they would search for his catamaran, with a multi-colored sail and blue trampoline.
Searching for several hours to no avail, Perez, low on gas, decided to return to the beach. As they turned, Anna spotted one pontoon in the air several hundred yards away.
Arriving at the sailboat and feeling better, Sova jumped onboard. With the help of Perez's engine and a towline, they managed to right the Cat. Morin, almost 230 lbs., hopped onboard to keep it from going over again in the stiff wind and heavy chop.
Seeing Sova's exhaustion and the rough weather, Perez suggested a tow back to the beach.
"We started to tow, but realized we were running on fumes," said Perez. After a cell phone call, a stop along Ocean Drive and a friend's can of fuel, Perez returned to assist the sailors.
They finished the tow, returning the sailboat and one tired, yet very grateful couple to dry land.