Two Orange County men are crediting a $200 emergency locater transmitter and two satellites with saving their lives after their 30-foot sailboat--en route from Hawaii to Huntington Beach--became disabled 650 miles north of Honolulu.
A private salvage boat towed the Agape II back into Honolulu Friday.
Steve Beu and Dix Whitecotton of Huntington Beach left Honolulu’s Ala Wai Yacht Harbor Aug. 30. But four days out they lost the sail rigging, and on Sept. 10 the engine quit.
They activated the emergency transmitter, which a Coast Guard spokesman said was first detected by a Soviet search and rescue satellite and then by a U.S. satellite Sept. 12.
The Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 aircraft that homed in on the signal and located the sailboat the following day.
The Coast Guard made arrangements for the salvage boat to tow the Agape II back to Honolulu.
“Maybe, just maybe, we could have rigged up some kind of sail power, using our boom as a mast,” Beau said. “Maybe it would have gotten us to Midway Island. But it’s a big ocean out there. Maybe we wouldn’t have made it.”