It was a busy weekend for the Coast Guard off the Central Coast, with two separate rescue operations involving rowers in a California to Hawaii race.
On Saturday, a team of four rowers called for help as their craft started taking on water about 75 miles west of San Luis Obispo. All four rowers were successfully airlifted from the craft by a helicopter equipped with a winch. There was an escort sailboat with the troubled craft, but the seas were too rough for it to safely rescue the four people.
Then, around 2 a.m. Sunday, a solo rower had to be rescued by helicopter, after his craft had overturned multiple times. He was able to call for help with a satellite phone. The helicopter was able to lift that man to safety from the ocean about 50 miles west of San Luis Obispo.
The rowers had been taking part in the inaugural Great Pacific Race, a 2,400 mile competition from Monterey to Honolulu. Seven of the 13 entrants are still in the race, which organizers say had received a permit from the Coast Guard.