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Sailor lost in rally

The Coast Guard confirmed today that a 59-year-old woman was lost overboard as she and her husband fought 20-foot seas and 45-knot winds sailing to Bermuda as participants in a Caribbean cruising rally.

The accident occurred 285 miles northwest of Bermuda. The Coast Guard searched two days for Janet Anderson, covering 735 square miles, said David Marin, Coast Guard public affairs specialist in Portsmouth, Va. The search was called off Saturday.

Americans Janet and Robert Anderson, who sail out of San Francisco, were participating in the North American Rally to the Caribbean from Newport, R.I., to St. Martin when Janet Anderson was swept overboard, Marin said. They were sailing Triple Stars, a 2000 38-foot Island Packet.

The Coast Guard received an EPIRB signal from Triple Stars at 1:39 p.m. Nov. 11, followed by a radio distress call from Anderson, who said a 30-foot wave had swept his wife off the boat, according to Marin. The Coast Guard used HC-130 Hercules aircraft to search for the woman. The merchant vessel High Jupiter picked up Robert Anderson at 5 p.m. Saturday, Marin said. The sailboat was left behind.

Triple Stars, a 38-foot Island Packet, had left Oct. 30 from Newport. The rally, organized by Offshore Passage Opportunities, based in Halesite, N.Y., is open to veteran offshore sailors and professionally crewed boats, according to the information on the company’s website. Hank Schmitt runs Offshore Passage Opportunities but was unavailable for comment.

The Coast Guard assisted four other sailors participating in the rally on Nov. 6.