This was a first for us. 15 minutes out of Anacortes and the captain announces we are taking a detour to help a vessel in distress. We change course and the search lights go out, and in about ten minutes we come across a small sailboat with sails ripped. It was a pretty windy night, probably too much weather for this boat. The ferry crew verified that the small boat was not taking on water, and so we just tracked him with our light for 15 minutes, awaiting the arrival of the Coast Guard 35 minutes away in Bellingham. Had the sailboat started to take on water, the ferry crew was ready to do an emergency rescue, but that would have been at some risk to the ferry crew and a lot of risk to the small sailboat, it certainly seems like the ferry would have crushed the boat.
Eventually another ferry arrived, and also kept their lights on the boat. The ferry captains decided for whatever reason that the 2nd ferry was the better one to track the boat, and so we moved on. The well-lit ferry boats had to be a welcome site to the small sailboat, it was a dark and windy night, had to be a little scary out there.