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‘It went down quick’ — Three rescued after 31-foot sailboat sinks in Peconic Bay

08/03/2018 2:21 PM |

A 31-foot sailboat sunk Wednesday evening in Peconic Bay between Greenport and Shelter Island, sending three people into the bay during an informal race that many Shelter Island Yacht Club members participate in.

According to Jeff Bresnahan, who heads the club’s junior sailing program, sailor Ross Allonby’s boat, Badger, took on water in “very windy conditions” and a “ripping” current.

The race started at 6 p.m., Mr. Bresnahan said, and at 6:50 p.m. he got a call from club member Whitney McCarthy, who was concerned that “something didn’t look right” with Badger as it sailed just north of Jennings Point on Shelter Island.

In 30 seconds, the boat was fully submerged and Mr. Allonby and two guests were in the water, Mr. Bresnahan added.

They were rescued by Zachary Bliss, who was watching the races from his motorboat nearby. No injuries were reported.

“It was just a perfect storm,” Mr. Bresnahan said. “The boat got hit by a wave, he took on a lot of water, there was a big puff of breeze. It went down quick.”

Southold Town police received a call reporting “a sailboat … in distress” in Peconic Bay at 6:52 p.m. An officer responded and was unable to locate the vessel and no further action was taken.

Yacht Club staffers spent all day Thursday trying to discover the boat’s location but were unsuccessful.

“Badger could be in Connecticut now, for all we know,” Mr. Bresnahan said.

Shelter Island Yacht Club Commodore Bryan Carey issued a statement Friday: “While this was not a SIYC event we are glad that the sailors involved were retrieved without injury and grateful that SIYC staff and members were able to assist the sailors and first responders. Many thanks to all of those who provided aid and assistance.”

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