Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity rescued two rowers who capsized their small boat 480 miles west of the Canary Islands overnight. 23 year-old Tom Fancett from the U.K. and Tom Sauer from the Netherlands, who were competing with 16 other boats in the 2011 Atlantic Challenge Race to row across the Atlantic, spent 10 hours in a tiny life raft after a large wave sunk their boat. The ultra-luxury cruise ship was 120 nautical miles north of the rowers, on her own Transatlantic cruise en route to St. Maarten, when it received the rescue assist call from the Falmouth Coast Guard. Crystal Serenity picked up the men at 6:00 a.m. Dec. 14.
Captain Økland sailed full speed to the stranded boaters, through worsening weather and small crafts of other contest participants. With lookouts posted throughout the night, Crystal Serenity located the boaters’ flare five hours later. Captain Økland 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. Crystal Serenity expects to arrive on schedule in St. Maarten on Sunday.