NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- For the second time in four days the Norfolk-based guided missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) rendered aid to distressed mariners Nov. 12 when the ship responded to a call for assistance several hundred miles off the East Coast.
On Nov. 5, U.S. Fleet Forces Command directed Gonzalez to render assistance to Reina del Sol, a 38-foot sailing vessel experiencing engine problems and suffering a steering casualty that affected both the centerboard and rudder.
Gonzalez Sailors aboard the ship's rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) reached the distressed vessel. The Reina del Sol was taken under tow by the RHIB while awaiting further assistance from the Coast Guard Cutter Spencer. Spencer arrived on the scene around 7 a.m. the following day and is currently taking the sailing vessel under tow toward Halifax, Nova Scotia.
According to Gonzalez's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Brian Fort, the French nationals aboard the sailing vessel were found to be exhausted and hungry after drifting for two days.
The male and female on board the Reina del Sol were sailing to the Azores when they experienced problems, which they had tried to fix themselves before calling for help.
On Saturday, Nov. 8, Gonzalez provided mechanical and maintenance assistance to the civilian, double-masted sailboat Gypsy Dane.
According to the vessel's master, Gypsy Dane had drifted for four days before Gonzalez arrived on the scene. En route to Charleston from New York, Gypsy Dane was in 10-foot seas when Gonzalez responded.
Gonzalez sent its RHIB to Gypsy Dane with a machinist's mate, two enginemen, a machinery repairman, two search-and-rescue swimmers, a boat officer and the RHIB coxswain. The SAR swimmers found a line that had wrapped around the rudder, which resulted in the Gypsy Dane's loss of steering. There were several other mechanical issues Gonzalez Sailors were also able to repair.
After spending several hours with the vessel, the Gonzalez Sailors returned to the ship, while the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca did a final safety check of Gypsy Dane and released the vessel to proceed on to Charleston.
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