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TRANSPAC BREAKING: John Sangmeister's Santa Cruz 70 OEX crew abandon ship after suffering rudder

NEWPORT BEACH, CA (#1164) – This posted in the past 45 minutes on the Tritium Racing Facebook page, about the Santa Cruz 70 OEX (TRITIUM is the former ORMA 60 also owned by our longtime friend and FOSI John Sangmeister (USA) out of Long Beach YC:

"The OEX crew experienced rudder issues and had to abandon ship. Pyewacket has picked the crew up and they are all on their way back to the mainland. Most importantly, ALL ARE SAFE. Needless to say, we are incredibly appreciative to Roy Disney and the crew of Pyewacket. We are devastated about the loss of our wonderful OEX. Will post when I have more information. Everyone is still in shock."

This was presumably posted by John's wife, Sara Tong Sangmeister, as she also replied, in the same thread, to a question asking about salvage possibilities, saying: "Had only a brief call but it sounds like she is a loss."

UPDATE - 0720 Monday PDT: Have now spoken with Sara by phone, and indeed she did post it. Sara had a few other details that your Ed. will report in a post later today here on SI.

We'll have more in due course this (Monday) morning.

Above is a screen grab from AIS showing PYEWACKET heading northeast at 10 knots. At this stage in the race the YB Race Tracker is subject to a "four hour tactical delay." Below is a screen grab of the actual Facebook post....

Image courtesy of the Transpac Yacht Club website commemorating this year's record number of entries, 90 boats from 10 nations. Now a bit sadly ironic – indeed, Aloha OEX!

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