Rowers Rescued After Boat Capsizes

31 January 2012, 11:32 | Updated: 31 January 2012, 13:28

Six rowers crossing the Atlantic for our Have A Heart Appeal - including a dad from Bedford - have had to be rescued after their boat capsized.

The group were 27 days into a voyage from Morocco to Barbados when their 36ft (11.1m) boat the Sara G hit rough weather at 11am on Monday 30 January 2012.

They were 520 miles from their destination.  Their boat capsized but they were able to get onto a liferaft and set off a distress flare.  They stayed on the liferaft for 14 hours.

Coastguards in Falmouth, 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 on Tuesday 31 January, but that was no longer needed after the rowers were rescued.

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.''

On board were captain Matt Craughwell; Ian Rowe, a 45 year old father of four from Bedford; Aodhan Kelly, 26 from Dublin; Simon Brown, 37, a father of three from Bath; father of two Yaacov Mutnikas and 29 year old Mark Beaumont from Perthshire, Scotland.

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."  Money raised is going to the 2012 Have A Heart Appeal, supporting Childine.

The Sara G is the latest boat 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.

Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager Terry Collins said "The activation of a distress radio beacon always requires thorough investigation and potentially the tasking of Search and Rescue resources to people in danger at sea anywhere in the world.

"In this case, the beacon associated with the Sara G has been activated due to their vessel capsizing, and we are pleased to have been able to assist in sending resources to their rescue."

Watch video, see pictures and find out more about the Atlantic Odyssey Challenge for Have A Heart