Rowers rescued from life raft in Atlantic after boat capsized
SIX rowers, including one Irishman, have been rescued from a life raft in the North Atlantic after their boat capsized.
The crew of the Sara G which included Aodhan Kelly, 26, from Dublin and five other British rowers, were taking part in the Atlantic Odyssey challenge to row from Morocco in north Africa to Barbados in the Caribbean.
They were 27 days into their journey when the 36ft (11.1m) vessel overturned at 11am yesterday, 520 miles from their destination.
Coastguards in Cornwall, said the rowers were picked up from the raft, which they had lashed to the hull of their overturned boat, at 1.10am by the Nord Taipei, a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship.
A coastguard spokesman added: "They are all safe and well on board and proceeding to Gibraltar, where they are due to arrive on February 9."
Falmouth Coastguard co-ordinated the rescue with authorities in Martinique.
A second vessel, the Naparima, was also due to reach the overturned boat's location by 4.30am today, but was released after the rowers' rescue.
Earlier, a coastguard spokesman said: "The shore contact for the Sara G managed to get through to the crew of the boat via satellite phone and ascertained that the boat had capsized and they had abandoned to the life raft, which was tethered to the capsized vessel."
The Atlantic Odyssey website names the crew as captain Matt Craughwell; Ian Rowe, a 45-year-old father of four; Simon Brown, 37, a father of three from Wiltshire; father-of-two Yaacov Mutnikas and 29-year-old Mark Beaumont, a documentary maker from Perthshire, Scotland and Kelly from Dublin.
The website states that they were rowing from Tarfaya in Morocco to Port St Charles in Barbados with the aim of becoming the first crew in history to break the sub-30 day barrier, calling it "ocean rowing's very own four-minute mile".
Writing on their blog on Sunday, Mr Craughwell said the boat was struggling to make headway because of "no wind and swells from every direction".
"With the calm of the Atlantic Sara G has not only had her toughest week of the expedition, but her toughest week under my watch," he said.
"Yesterday saw us post only 60 nautical miles with a mixed bag of no wind and swells from every direction. Despite all of this the crew have battled on to make this small total. It has now made our world record attempt become the most difficult 10 days we will spend at sea this year. Morale is high and we hope for good weather soon, but it seems everything is against us at the moment!"
He added that the weather meant their solar and wind-powered equipment had run out of electricity, meaning they had had to resort to navigating "the old fashion way like the old mariners used to".
The Sara G is the latest boast and crew to get into trouble attempting to cross the Atlantic this winter. In December two transatlantic rowers, one of them British, had been rescued from a life raft in the middle of the ocean after their small boat sank in rough seas.
Tom Sauer and Tom Fancett were rescued by a cruise ship after 10 hours in the raft almost 500 miles south west of the Canary Islands, coastguards said.
Briton Mr Fancett and Mr Sauer, who has dual Dutch and Russian nationality according to their Team Tom website, left the Canary Islands in December to row to the Bahamas in the 2011 Atlantic Ocean Rowing Race. They finished their journey across the ocean in style after being picked up by a cruise ship.