Thursday, December 15, 2011

Crystal Serenity: A Welcome Sight To Capsized Rowers

While Tom Fancett from the U.K. and Tom Sauer from the Netherlands were competing with 16 other boats in the 2011 Atlantic Challenge Race to row across the Atlantic to Barbados, a large wave sunk their 26-foot-long rowboat 480 miles west of the Canary Islands. They were in luck, even though they spent 10 hours in a tiny life raft. The luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity was only 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 am yesterday morning. Captain Okland sailed full speed to the stranded boaters, through worsening weather and very small crafts of other contest participants. With lookouts posted throughout the night, Crystal Serenity located the boaters' flare five hours later.

Captain Okland carefully maneuvered close to the raft, and the shipwrecked men were rescued directly onto Crystal Serenity. After a checkup in the ship's medical center, both 23-year old survivors pictured here appear to be in good health and are probably pretty thankful, not to mention pleased, to have been plucked into the lap of luxury following their harrowing experience. Crystal Serenity expects to arrive on schedule in St. Maarten on Sunday, giving the men a few days to rest and recoup on board. You could say they got the ultimate upgrade on their Atlantic crossing.

"Both individuals are in good spirits and, of course, very happy to be alive," says Crystal's President Gregg Michel. "We are so proud of the quick reaction and skilled seamanship of our crew that enabled them to save these brave men. While these young men hoped to cross the Atlantic in a most basic fashion, they are certainly experiencing the crossing in the most luxurious environment—an ironic, and heartwarming, turn of events."

Crystal Cruises' ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, have been recognized for decades as among the most luxurious and hospitable at sea. Crystal's passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more "World's Best" awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history.

Photos Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

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