Randy Smith, a well-known U.S. multihull captain and National Sailing Hall of Fame member, was rescued last night by the Coast Guard. His 20-foot trimaran capsized during the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, a 300-mile race for kayaks, canoes and small boats held along Florida's west coast from Tampa Bay to Key Largo.
At 9 p.m., Coast Guard District 7 dispatchers received a distress signal from a personal beacon from the area of the race taking place at the time.
The 29-foot rescue boat Response Boat Small-II with a rescue team aboard immediately departed Fort Myers Beach and came to Smith's aid. The renowned race competitor was not injured.
«»"Radar beacons like PLB or EPIRB are very specific about their location in case of danger," said Jesse Ameigh, a Fort Myers Beach station duty officer who picked up the signal that night. Mr. Smith was using a PLB, and the rest of his rescue equipment was on full alert . «»
Randy Smith is one of only nine Americans to boast an America's Cup victory (1988) and an Olympic sailing champion medal (1988, 1992). In addition, he has consulted on the shooting of two Hollywood films and helmed the catamaran for Kevin Costner in «Waterworld» and Pierce Brosnan in «The Thomas Crown Affair».
In 2010, Smith was a commentator on the America's Cup for ESPN and in 2016 he covered the Rio Olympics for NBC.
The Everglades Challenge is a non-sponsored expedition-inspired adventure race, with checkpoints and a time limit (usually 8 days or less). This time it started on March 3, traditionally from the shores of Tampa Bay.