Slow Boat Sailing has been able to identify the sailboat in recent helicopter rescue on Lake Superior as Sous Le Vent. On 6:30 AM on September 29, 2018, a 73-year old man called in a “Mayday” after his sailboat hit the rocks near Manitou Island, off the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Lake Superior in 30 knot winds and snow. He was rescued by the USCG Air Station Traverse City a few hours later who filmed the rescue from their Jayhawk helicopter.
Sous Le Vent was a 41-foot sailboat with a 15-foot beam and had a volume of 15 gross tons according to Coast Guard Documentation records. The Sous Le Vent was sold in Minnesota on August 9, 2018, to Richard West of Newark, Delaware. Slow Boat Sailing inspected the bill of sale. The sails were up when its skipper abandoned it near the lighthouse on Manitou Island. It was hard aground from the USCG video. “Sous le vent” is French for “downwind”. The identity of the man rescued has not been revealed.
The man was wearing a survival suit, which protects against freezing waters, when the USCG came to the scene. The boat was intact from the video, but its hull did not seem to be always floating when it was abandoned based on the video of the incident. The skipper swam ashore and was hoisted from the beach at the direction of the USCG rescue swimmer. The dinghy tied to the back of the boat was not used to get ashore.