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Gary E
05-10-2007, 04:45 PM
COAST GUARD CUTTER TAMPA, HELO CREWS CONDUCTING SEARCH FOR MISSING SAIL BOAT
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PORTSMOUTH, Va. - (May 9) An HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., refuels from the Cutter Tampa off the coast of North Carolina today. The Tampa, homeported in Portsmouth, has been assisting air crews from Elizabeth City and Clearwater, Fla., in the search for the 54-foot sailboat Flying Colours and its four crewmembers since early Monday.


U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the CGC Tampa



Media Update: Coast Guard Continues Search for 4 Missing Sailors off North Carolina
PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Coast Guard rescue crews from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa continue searching for four missing sailors from the 54-foot sailing vessel Flying Colours off the North Carolina coast today.
Since Monday, Coast Guard crews have searched 38,122.5 square nautical miles.
The crew, Patrick Topping, 39, Jason Franks, 34, Rhiannon Borisoff, 22, and Christine Grinavic, were sailing from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to Annapolis, Md.
The crew is described as experienced and carried all safety and communications equipment onboard.
The vessel has been described as having a blue hull with either a green or light blue keel with white topside with teak decks and lots of stainless steel.
The search began early Monday morning when Coast Guard watch standers at the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) in Portsmouth, Va., received an alert from the ships Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)at 3:30 a.m., the RCC lost signal contact at 7:00 a.m.
The Coast Guard continues to search the area and asks anyone who has information regarding the Flying Colours to call the Coast Guard Command Center at (757) 398-6390.

Coast Guard Searches for 4 Missing Sailors off North Carolina Graphic
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PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The graphic above shows the search area for the four missing sailors onboard the 54-foot sailing vessel Flying Colours. Since Monday, Coast Guard rescue crews from Air Stations Elizabeth City, N.C., and St. Petersburg Fla., along with the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, homeported in Portsmouth, Va., have searched 38,122 square nautical miles. (Graphic by U.S. Coast Guard)


Guard Cutter Tampa battles heavy seas
The 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Tampa battles heavy seas while en route to the sailboat Flying Colours search area May 8, 2007. The Coast Guard rescued nine people from three sailboats off North Carolina Monday. A C-130 airplane crew is searching a 100-square-mile area for the Flying Colours and its four-person crew.
U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Coast Guard Cutter Tampa.

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CREWS STILL SEARCHING FOR 4 SAILORS
PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Coast Guard continues to search this afternoon for the four sailors on the 54-foot Flying Colours, missing off the coast of North Carolina.

Missing are Patrick Topping, 39, the master of the ship; Jason Franks, 34; Rhiannon Borisoff, 22; and Christine Grinavic. Topping and Franks are both experienced sailors, both having their captain's licenses.

The Flying Colours is home-ported in Washington, D.C., and the crew was transiting from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, to Annapolis, Md.

A Coast Guard C-130 airplane is searching a 100-square-mile area, and the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa is battling heavy seas en route to join the search.

Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators received an electronic distress signal from the sailboat early Monday, but the signal stopped at about 4 p.m. It is possible that the crew pulled Flying Colours into port, and turned off the distress signal.
Anyone who has information regarding the Flying Colours is requested to call the Coast Guard Fifth District command center at (757) 398-6390.

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COAST GUARD RESCUES 9, SEARCH FOR 4 MORE CONTINUES
PORTSMOUTH, Va. - After rescuing nine people Monday, Coast Guard crews continue to search today for a sailboat with four people on board.

Coast Guard crews have scoured about 5,440 nautical miles since Monday in the search for the sailboat Flying Colours.
This is one of four rescue cases that Air Station Elizabeth City air crews flew on in the last 48 hours. Nine people were hoisted by helicopters from three sailboats Monday, when heavy storms created seas in excess of 30 feet.
Two Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., C-130 airplanes searched through the night for the Flying Colours. An Air Station Clearwater, Fla., C-130 was launched this morning to continue the search about 160 nautical miles southeast of Cape Lookout, N.C.

The 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Tampa has been en route to the 100 square-mile search area since Monday.
Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators received an electronic distress signal from the sailboat early Monday, but the signal stopped at about 4 p.m. It is possible that the crew pulled Flying Colours into port, and turned off the distress signal.
Anyone who has information regarding the Flying Colours is requested to call the Coast Guard Fifth District command center at (757) 398-6390.
The Flying Colours is believed to have been sailing from the Caribbean to the Anapolis, Md., area.

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The 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Tampa battles heavy seas while en route to the sailboat Flying Colours search area May 7, 2007. The Coast Guard rescued nine people from three sailboats of North Carolina Monday. A C-130 airplane crew is still searching a 100-square-mile area for the Flying Colours and its four-person crew.
U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Coast Guard Cutter Tampa.
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The 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Tampa battles heavy seas while en route to the sailboat Flying Colours search area May 7, 2007. The Coast Guard rescued nine people from three sailboats of North Carolina Monday. A C-130 airplane crew is still searching a 100-square-mile area for the Flying Colours and its four-person crew.
U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Coast Guard Cutter Tampa.
http://www.fryingpantower.com/spaw/images/77091.jpg
U.S. Coast Guardsmen and emergency service personnel unload rescuees from an HH-65A Dolphin helicopter at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., May 7, 2007, for transport to Halyburton Naval Hospital. A team of Coast Guardsmen rescued the three boaters off the coast North Carolina. DoD photo by Lance Cpl. David J. Blake, U.S. Marine Corps.

ken connors
05-10-2007, 05:04 PM
Jason Franks family is still holding out much hope. Jason is a very experienced sailor for his age. He captains an 85' vessel in Newport and has made trans-Atlantic crossings. One time he stayed on watch for 30 hrs thru a terrific storm that left the rest of the crew helpless due to seasickness. The other gentleman on the boat is at least as good a sailor with more years experience. We hope the Coast Guard searches for as long as possible.

rbgarr
05-10-2007, 05:30 PM
I have a friend whose job was to refuel those helicopters from the aft deck on ships. He'd stand tethered to the center of the deck like that goat in Jurassic Park while the helo would come in to get the fuel line from him.

Hope the search is successful.

ken connors
05-10-2007, 08:59 PM
Update: 2 craft join search for missing R.I. boaters
The U.S. Coast Guard continued searching today off the coast of North Carolina for the 54-foot Flying Colours, a sailboat that has been missing since Monday with a crew of four with Rhode Island ties.

A Navy P-3 aircraft and the Coast Guard cutter Staten Island were added to the search, joining the 270-foot cutter Tampa, a C-130 airplane and a helicopter.

Missing are: Patrick Topping, 39; Jason Franks, 34; Rhiannon Borisoff, 22; and Christine Grinavic, 26. Topping and Franks have captain's licenses. They were sailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Annapolis, Md.

The Coast Guard has heard nothing from the crew since picking up an electronic distress signal early Monday morning, which had put the boat’s location in rough seas at about 160 miles southeast of Cape Lookout , N.C. The signal stopped several hours later.

sawcutmill
05-11-2007, 06:45 AM
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Missing captain a world traveler

01:00 AM EDT on Friday, May 11, 2007

By Mark Arsenault

Journal Staff Writer

The Newport captain of the missing sailboat Flying Colours is a global traveler who has climbed in the Himalayas, spent four days filming as an extra in an Indian Bollywood movie and once spent the night in jail in Bogota over a dispute with a hired water taxi.

Thirty-nine-year old Patrick “Trey” Topping “has either walked or bicycled, ridden a bus or taken a train, literally all over the world,” said his father, also named Pat Topping, in a phone interview yesterday from his home in Macon, Ga.

The Coast Guard continued searching yesterday off the coast of North Carolina for the 54-foot sailboat that has been missing since Monday. In addition to Topping, the ship carried three others with local ties: Jason Franks, 34; Rhiannon Borisoff, 22; and Christine Grinavic, 26. Topping and Franks have captain’s licenses. They were sailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Annapolis, Md.

The Coast Guard has heard nothing from the crew since picking up an electronic distress signal early Monday morning, which had put the boat’s location, in rough seas, at about 160 miles southeast of Cape Lookout, N.C. The signal stopped several hours later.

A Navy P-3 aircraft and the Coast Guard cutter Staten Island were added to the search yesterday, joining the 270-foot cutter Tampa, a C-130 airplane and a helicopter. A Coast Guard spokesman said last night that a decision on whether to continue the search could come later today.

Mr. Topping noted that the search has turned up no debris or evidence that the boat had sunk. “So we’re just real optimistic that they’ve battened down the hatches and ended up somewhere without any power and without any communications, just drifting somewhere,” he said. “That’s what we keep thinking.”

His son, who goes by the nickname Trey because he is Patrick Topping III, was born and raised in Georgia. He moved to California and worked for a while as a bicycle messenger. About 15 years ago he came to Newport to spend the summer with an aunt, and never left, his father said.

In Newport he became a dedicated sailor, and got a job working on the schooner Madeleine, his father said. “He did that for a while and then gradually got bigger and bigger licenses,” he said. A friend who captained the Flying Colours had to leave his job, and recommended Trey Topping to take his place, he said.

The elder Topping said the boat is owned by Robin West, who founded an energy consulting company after working in the Ford and Reagan administrations. “In fact, Trey was sitting in his office and there were all these pictures of Ford and Reagan and a picture of Dick Cheney holding Robin West’s kid,” Mr. Topping said. “And Trey goes, ‘Do I have to become a Republican to get this job?’ ”

In the winters when he couldn’t sail, “he would put some stuff in a backpack, find some place to travel and hit the road.”

He has traveled in India and Africa. The misunderstanding in South America that led to a night in jail happened this way: “He was with a bunch of guys. They had hired a guy with a boat to take them to the next town. When they went to get on the boat, the guy wasn’t there. So they hunted the guy down and when they found him, their method of persuasion was not agreed to by the police.”

Pat Topping laughed.

“So the police threw everybody in jail for the night and said they’d settle it in the morning.”

While traveling in India with a buddy from the Netherlands, Trey “got spotted by these folks who asked if they wanted to spend four days being extras in a Bollywood movie.” The film’s title is The Rising. Trey played a cavalry officer. “We even found a copy of the movie and he came up here visiting with us about two months ago and we sat together and watched the movie.”

One time in India, Trey joined some local kids in a soccer game. “Next thing you know, he’s living with one of the kid’s families for a couple of months,” his father said. “He was up in Kashmir one time, met a kid walking down the street and the next thing you know he’s living with that kid’s family on a three-story houseboat, on some lake up in Kashmir. He’s a remarkable guy.”

Mr. Topping said he has been cheered by his conversations with Trey’s friends. “They know Trey is a good, cautious sailor and this other guy, Jason Franks, is a good, cautious sailor. They’ve both been in bad weather before…The Coast Guard and some of the former captains on the Flying Colours said it’s a good strong boat that can take a lot of punishment. They feel the boat can make it.”

It’s too early get discouraged, he said. “That’s a huge ocean out there.”

Kim Whitmyre
05-11-2007, 09:21 AM
By JACK DORSEY, The Virginian-Pilot
May 10, 2007 | Last updated 10:40 AM May. 10

PORTSMOUTH - The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Tampa, racing to rescue the sailboat Flying Colours off the North Carolina coast, faced 30-foot seas that rolled their ship 30 degrees, leaving some crew members with cuts and bruises.

"It was like being in a 270-foot- long washing machine, trying to operate and live in it," Cmdr. Steven A. Banks, captain of the Tampa, said Wednesday by satellite telephone.

At one point the day before, a wave hit the left side of his ship, washing over the deck 30 feet high and entering the ventilation system. "We actually had rain coming down from the vents," Banks said.

The 97 crew members have searched more than 800 square miles around the last known position of the 54-foot sailboat, about 160 miles southeast of Point Lookout, N.C.

Flying Colours and its four passengers disappeared Monday and remain missing.

The Tampa is using radar and "Big Eye" binoculars to search the Atlantic. It arrived on the scene Tuesday from the north, punching through the storm that struck at least four sailboats in the area.

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And one of the yachts abandoned has beached:

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The Illusion a 67 foot sailboat rest on the shore May 10, 2007 in the four wheel drive recreation area 2.5 miles past Fort Fisher,N.C.. The boat Captained by Chris Leitch(CQ) was in rout to New Port, R.I. from Fort Lauderdale, Fl. when about 120 miles off the Cape Lookout shorline the crew lost steering capabilities and had to abondon the vessil due to a coastal low presure system that was later named Subtropical Storm Andrea. The crew was rescued by the Coast Gaurd and the sailboat was left a drift ending up on shore. Tow Boat U.S. was contracted by the owner of the sailboat to salvage the boat that is to be repaired.

ken connors
05-13-2007, 09:42 PM
After searching thousands of miles of sea, without finding any signs of a missing sailboat and its four sailors with Rhode Island ties, the U.S. Coast Guard decided last night to suspend its active search.

The captain and crew of the 54-foot sailboat Flying Colours were believed to be somewhere off the coast of North Carolina, where the boat disappeared Monday in rough seas. The last contact with the boat was an electronic distress signal that the Coast Guard picked up at 3:30 a.m. on Monday and which stopped a few hours later.

Yesterday, the hopes of the sailors’ families were raised, as more search planes joined the hunt for the missing sailboat, including a C-130 search-and-rescue plane from the Rhode Island National Guard. But by late evening, the Coast Guard decided to end the search, and called the families, a spokesman said. Nearly a week of searches had turned up nothing but open water.

“It’s an extremely difficult decision,” said Petty Officer Kip Wadlow. “We’ve pretty much searched everywhere they could possibly be.”

The Coast Guard had used data-marker buoys to tell it the current and wind direction, so searchers could determine where the sailboat could have drifted, Wadlow said. They flew search planes in close to the shore as well as up the northern coast to see if Flying Colours — or anything from the sailboat — had been caught in the Gulf Stream, he said.

Coast Guard search-and-rescue personnel from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and the Coast Guard cutter Tampa were joined yesterday by the crews of an HU-25 Falcon jet from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, a Navy P3 search plane from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., and C-130s from Moody and Patrick Air Force bases, and the Rhode Island, New York, Georgia and the North Carolina Air National Guard.

By the end, last night, the searchers had covered more than 282,000 nautical square miles, an area larger than Texas, Wadlow said. The four missing sailors all have ties to Rhode Island — Patrick Topping, 39, the master of the ship; Jason Franks, 34; Rhiannon Borisoff, 22; and Christine Grinavic, 26. They were sailing the boat from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Annapolis, Md., a trip expected to take a little over a week. All are experienced sailors; Franks and Topping each hold a captain’s license.

Yesterday morning, the Rhode Island National Guard scrapped a planned training mission for one of its C-130s and volunteered to use the plane for the real search-and-rescue mission.

The crew invited the family of Franks to come aboard before the flight, said Franks’ mother, Carol. Her husband, Ronald Dale, was a retired Army colonel who had been an adviser to the Rhode Island National Guard.

She brought photos of her son and the missing sailboat. The crew hugged and kissed her, and promised to do their best, she said. “We want our kids back,” she said. “They’re out there, somewhere.”

Without word, without sight, the families were left with just hope. “What we’re thinking is they’re drifting,” Dale said. “We think their mast is down.”

In the early afternoon, her tone was upbeat and determined. “My crying time is between 4 and 6 in the morning, and then I say, ‘Back to work,’ ” Dale said.

Meanwhile, people were bringing food by the family’s house in North Kingstown, she said, so much that some was donated to the local Fire Department. “Don’t bring food, bring wine!” she joked. “Wine for the party!”

She was talking about the homecoming party, which the families are ready to hold, any moment, for the returning sailors.

With staff reports from Tom Mooney.

amilkovi@projo.com

JimD
05-14-2007, 02:48 AM
:( With sympathy to their families.

Hwyl
05-28-2007, 02:26 AM
:( With sympathy to their families.

Same from me, I was in the same piece of ocean on a recent delivery. Chesapeake to Sint Maarten. I'd pushed further South and missed this one, but heard of it through Herb's weather service.

Bermuda radio was still putting out calls for them last week.