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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard says a 66-year-old Sacramento man is OK after he was rescued from his sinking sailboat off the coast of Mexico.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman says Max Young was sailing alone about 40 miles west of La Playa, Mexico when his 50-foot sailboat was hit by a whale late Tuesday.

The impact from the collision with the whale knocked out sailboat's steering and started flooding the boat.

Young, described by the Coast Guard as a "seasoned sailor," activated an emergency beacon that was picked up by the Coast Guard in its Alameda, Calif. command center.

The Coast Guard directed a merchant ship, which was about 60 miles away, to rescue Young.

When the ship arrived around 4 a.m. Wednesday, Young was able to scramble off his sinking boat by a rope ladder thrown down by the crew of the merchant ship.

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