December 19, 2011 - On December 14, Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity rescued two rowers who had capsized overnight 480 miles west of the Canary Islands. The rowers, 23-year-old Tom Fancett from the U.K. and Tom Sauer from the Netherlands, were competing against 16 other teams in a row across the Atlantic in the 2011 Atlantic Rowing Race. Prior to their rescue, the two rowers had spent 10 hours in a tiny life raft after a large wave had capsized and sunk their boat.
The ultra-luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity was 120 nautical miles north of the rowers, on its own trans-Atlantic cruise en route to St. Maarten, when it received the rescue assist call from the Falmouth Coast Guard.
Captain Økland posted lookouts throughout the night and sailed full speed to the stranded boaters, through worsening weather and the very small crafts of the other contest participants. The boaters’ flare was located five hours later, and Captain Økland then carefully maneuvered close to the raft and brought the rowers aboard at 6:00 a.m.
Both rowers were then given checkups at the ship’s medical center, and confirmed to be in good health. Crystal Serenity arrived on schedule in St. Maarten on Sunday.