(CBS/AP) ALAMEDA, Calif - A Coast Guard cutter has returned to port after rescuing two injured members of a racing crew whose yacht was smashed by a giant wave during an around-the world race.
The ship docked at Coast Guard Island in Alameda around 3 p.m. Monday a day after it plucked two British crew members from the Geraldton Western Australia about 400 miles west of San Francisco.
Jane Hitchens and Nik Brbora slowly walked off the boat and waved before they were taken to a hospital in separate ambulances.
The two were hurt Sunday when a huge wave smashed over their yacht's stern with such force that it carried away the steering wheel.
The crew replaced the steering wheel and continued their journey to San Francisco. They were expected to reach the Port of Oakland early Tuesday.
The boat had been participating in the Clipper Round the World yacht race -- the longest of its kind for amateurs -- some 40,000 miles.
But the leg across the North Pacific was the hardest and Geraldton's crew was apprehensive even before it began. "I don't think anyone who has a brain cell between their ears is going to say they're not slightly nervous about it," said crew member Ian Geraghty.
The fleet of 10 racing boats hit a storm Saturday, the likes of which they had never seen.
"There's times when you almost want to give up, but none of these guys gave up, they worked really, really hard throughout," said Mark Light, skipper of the Derry-Londonderry.
The Geraldton's skipper told the Coast Guard "a monstrous foaming swell broke over the stern." The wave slammed the crew to the deck and ripped the wheel off its mount, sending it overboard leaving them temporarily adrift.
The weather remained so bad for most of Sunday, the Coast Guard could only air-drop medical supplies to injured sailors below. The most seriously injured were taken aboard a cutter to safety just before dusk Sunday night.