Cruise ship rescues capsized rowers

//Cruise ship rescues capsized rowers

Two men attempting to row across the Atlantic have been rescued by the cruise ship Crystal Serenity after their eight-metre craft was hit by an enormous wave and capsized in the middle of the ocean.
Tom Fancett, from London, and Tom Sauer, a Dutchman who lives in Russia, were picked up early this morning 500 miles south-west of the Canary Islands after spending the night in a life-raft.
The pair, both aged 23, were taking part in the Atlantic Challenge race as TeamTom and left la Gomera a week ago, headed for Barbados. The emergency locator beacon on their boat was activated yesterday evening and Falmouth coastguard immediately put out an alert.
The 69,000 cruise ship, on a 13-night crossing from Lisbon to Miami was the nearest vessel , 120 miles beyond the rowers. It turned round, located the men at about 6.00 am this morning and brought them on board.
In a dramatic message to the race organisers, Sauer told how disaster struck.
“Tom and I were just changing places. The ocean was quite calm. We were in great spirits after the first eight days in the race. Suddenly our boat was rocked by an enormous wave – the size of which we’ve never seen before. Our boat was thrown over and capsized. The cabin flooded.
“We desperately tried to turn the boat back up again – but to no avail. In fact our boat started to sink. We managed to get the life raft and life jackets out during some very nervous and difficult moments. We entered the life raft and saw our dream literally sink in the ocean. We floated for about 10 hours in the night on the life raft until we were rescued by the Crystal cruise liner.
“We are obviously very disappointed but at the first place very happy to be alive and very grateful to our rescuers. We are now heading for St Maarten and will come back with a full report shortly.”
On board the cruise ship until it reaches St Maarten on Sunday December 18, the two rowers will be rubbing shoulders with passengers who have paid up to £13,700 a head for their holiday, and will be able to celebrate their rescue in style with free drinks all round.
Crystal Cruises’ president Gregg Michel said tonight: “Both individuals are in good spirits and, of course, very happy to be alive. We are so proud of the quick reaction and skilled seamanship of our crew that enabled them to save these brave men.”
A Crystal spokesman added that after being alerted by the coast guard, Captain Jon Økland sailed full speed to the stranded oarsmen, through worsening weather and past some of the 16 other boats taking part in the challenge.With lookouts posted throughout the night, Crystal Serenity located the boaters’ flare five hours later. Captain Økland carefully maneuvered close to the raft, and the shipwrecked persons were rescued directly onto Crystal Serenity. Upon checkup in the ship’s medical center, both survivors appear to be healthy.”
Sauer is in the final year of a modern history and management degree course at St Andrew’s University, and had hoped to be the youngest Dutchman to successfully navigate the Atlantic Ocean, raising money for the Johan Cruyff Foundation.
Among other competitors in the race is a team of disabled servicemen, rowing in aid of Help for Heroes, ABF The Soldiers Charity, and SSAFA.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:57+00:00 14 December 2011|Cruise News|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Cintia 10 June 2012 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Awww cmon’ Mary, I’m jealous over here! You are going to be the new and iorvmped Christian JULIE-from the Love Boat I just loved her in that TV show.Except your way cuter. And you know how to stand when you take pictures. (Out and up)

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