We were sailing in the 2019 Transpacific Race from San Pedro (CA) to Honolulu (HI) aboard Jim Pucket’s Amazing Grace, monitoring the VHF radio (Channel 16) early in the race one night. We were over two hundred miles offshore when we heard a form of a distress call on the VHF radio from a boat some miles astern. They reported having steering issues.
We heard the call, a PAN-PAN – and waited to see if anyone else replied to the call. After a few minutes, the watch captain called a reply to the first call – by hailing the vessel that broadcasted the PAN PAN call. “To the vessel calling PAN-PAN on VHF 16, this is sailing vessel Amazing Grace in response on VHF 16.”
We waited for a reply.
We called again with the reply – “to the vessel calling PAN-PAN, this is sailing vessel Amazing Grace in response on VHF 16.”
After another five minutes, we heard a call to us (Amazing Grace) on VHF 16 from the US Coast Guard Sector LA/Long Beach LOUD and CLEARLY advised us that they were in communications with the vessel and asked us to “stand by.” We asked if by “stand by,” they meant to hold our current position or to monitor the radio for further instructions while continuing our course to Hawaii. USCG Sector LA/Long Beach advised us to continue on our course and monitor the radio for further instructions.
A half-hour later, the USCG came back (again, LOUD and CLEAR) that we were released from monitoring the radio as the other boat was able to affect repairs.
Everyone had heard the term MAYDAY.