A container ship reached a sailboat stranded in waters roiled by Hurricane Julio about 400 miles off the Hawaii coast, the Coast Guard said Monday.
Operations Specialist Andrew Lincoln said that crews are waiting until dawn to evacuate the three people on board the stricken sailboat. He says performing the rescue before first light, in the midst of rough weather, would be too dangerous.
"The seas were really bad and it's kind of windy so they didn't want to do it in the dark," he said.
The Coast Guard says the sailors aboard the 42-foot sailboat Walkabout sent a message around 7 a.m. Saturday requesting help after the boat became disabled and took on water. One of the hatches blew away, and onboard pumps couldn't keep up with the flooding. The vessel's life raft was also blown overboard. The container ship Manukai reached the Walkabout around 10 p.m. that night.
Lincoln, who is helping coordinate the rescue, said the stranded sailors would climb aboard a life raft lowered to them, then float over to the container ship.
"If seas were calm they'd pull up to the sailing vessel and (the three sailors) would climb up what's called a Jacob's ladder," he said. "But it's really rough out there so if (the Manukai) did that they'd end up running over that sailing vessel."
Lincoln says Julio has passed through the area, but it has left behind gusting winds and sea swells. A Coast Guard C-130 will head out to monitor the rescue.