Blue Water Sailing
May 16, 2010

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Sailor Injured In Accidental Gibe Rescued In Pacific

Mike Kalahar, a Port Angeles resident and well-known sailor with ties to Sequim, was rescued from a boat about 1,400 miles southwest of La Paz, Mexico, when he sustained head and larynx injuries on April 1.
The U.S. Coast Guard and California Air National Guard responded, sending four rescue workers via a C-130 “Hercules” aircraft to Kalahar, who was aboard the sailing vessel Wind Child.


Kalahar, 56, reportedly was injured when a gust hit and sent the sailboat’s boom across the boat. The heavily-loaded lines that trim the mainsail pinned him by the throat against the bulkhead and jammed the back of his head against a winch.


Kalahar was rescued about 1400 nm southwest of Mexico

According to Ken Newell, who interviewed the yachts' owner and reported on his Sailing Blog "S/V Trim, "Wind Child is a racing boat through and through. Not necessarily because of it's design, but because of it's skipper and crew. Owner Rudy Heessels is Dutch and therefore can't help himself from being a sailor and one that likes to race. Rudy is a fanatic. He owns and races his Beneteau 36S7. He sails when most people would simply start-up their iron genny and motor through the rough stuff. He take tremendous pride in sailing and sailing hard with a small boat. According to Rudy Heessels, the story goes something like this....

At about 5 AM Michael Kalahar and another crew member were on watch when a sudden swell twisted the vessel sideways back winding the main and causing the sail to travel hard to port. In doing so, the force of the reloaded sail shredded the preventer line allowing the main sail to travel at high speed across the cockpit and swing the mainsheet across the face of Michael Kalahar thus throwing him against the port side winch with the sheet wrapped around his throat and face.


At this point it was discovered he was not breathing. The other crew member yelled "On Deck...On Deck...On Deck!". It took several yells of "On Deck" before the rest of the crew realized that an emergency was taking place. As soon as Rudy realized that Michael wasn't breathing and had bit off half of his tongue and the other crew member that knew CRP was trying to revive him was have difficulty, Rudy launched the EPIRB and got on the HF radio to try and make contact with someone. Read the rest of Ken's blog at: .

As of early this week, Kalahar reportedly was recovering at a hospital in San Diego. From:

Watch a video as the Pararescuemen from the 129th Rescue Wing California Air National Guard prepare to jump from the rear door of a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane approximately 1,400 miles southwest of San Diego April 1, 2010.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Henry G. Dunphy. Video by US Coast Guard:

Read updates about Wind Child and Mike Kalahar at