Co-Captain Wim Jessup of Darien and Co-Captain Martin van Breems, of Redding,of the sailing yacht Disco Volante  – along with crewmembers Mike McCormick and Brad Freeman – were awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award by the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard for their courageous actions to save nine people from an overturned vessel on July 26th, 2017 in Buzzard’s Bay.

Read, listen and see more off the rescue itself here at New England Cable News:

8-Year-Old Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries When Boat Overturns in Wareham, Massachusetts

Co-Captains Jessup and van Breems were teaching an Advanced Coastal Cruising Class with four students on the Hanse 400 from Norwalk to Portland, Maine. Fortuitously, the group had just completed several Man Overboard drills during their training when the overturned motor vessel and 12 victims were spotted in the turbulent waters at the southwestern  entrance to the Cape Cod Canal in Buzzards Bay.

Conditions at the time were 18+ knots of wind against the current, creating steep, choppy waves that had caused the 24’ powerboat to founder. Capt. Jessup immediately used Disco Volante’s VHF radio to call the Coast Guard while Capt. Van Breems had the crew take down their sails and bring their boat alongside the victims.  They succeeded in pulling nine victims, eight children and one mother, out of the water before local authorities arrived on scene to assist the remaining victims.  Unfortunately, one child was trapped under the yacht.  A professional diver retrieved the eight-year-old boy who was unresponsive and later perished at Children's Hospital in Boston. Disco Volante then transported the 9 victims aboard to shore where waiting ambulances brought the victims to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.  No additional serious injuries were reported.

Captain Jessup is a life-long sailboat racer and cruiser and resident of Darien. He holds a USCG Captain’s license, US Sailing Keelboat Certification, and is President of Rascal Sailing LLC, a sail training school out of Rowayton, CT. He is also the Executive Director of Training & Education at Landfall Navigation in Stamford. Martin van Breems is also an accomplished sailor and resident of Redding. He is President and owner of Sound Sailing Center in Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk.