How six would-be record-breakers ended up in seriously deep water
Container ship saves crew cast adrift on life rafts after their Atlantic crossing turns into a scramble for survival
Six men hoping to become the first to row the Atlantic in less than 30 days have been saved after their boat capsized.
Mark Beaumont, 29, who was writing a blog for The Independent about the voyage, and the crew of the Sara G were rescued in the Caribbean yesterday after three hours adrift in life rafts.
The skipper, Matt Craughwell, said their boat had begun to take on water after being tossed, stern upwards, by huge waves. "It happened so quickly. Three of us were inside the cabins when the boat went over. She was taking on water very very quickly," he told the BBC.
The crew, who set off from Morocco on 2 January, were 27 days into their 2,500-mile trip when the 36ft (11.1m) Sara G overturned 520 miles from their destination port of St Charles, Barbados. They were unable to right the waterlogged craft and abandoned it.
Their electronic distress beacon was picked up by coastguards in Falmouth, Cornwall, who worked with officials in Martinique to divert a 32,000-tonne cargo ship, the Nord Taipei, to help. The Panamanian vessel picked up the stranded men early yesterday.
Mr Craughwell added: "One of the rowers was in the upturned boat for about 15 seconds because we couldn't remove his feet from the harnesses. It was quite a relief when she capsized and we called the names and everybody responded. All six crew made it out, and for the next 15 minutes we battled to get the life rafts out and secured to the boats and set off one of the emergency evacuation signals.
"To be honest, frightened is a word I wouldn't use. It was a flight or fight response from everybody."
Mr Beaumont, of Perthshire, has described the gruelling Atlantic Odyssey challenge in his Independent blog . The men rowed in shifts of two hours on, two hours off, for 24 hours a day. For nearly a month, none of them slept for more than two hours at a time. "This is, without comparison, the toughest expedition of my life," said Mr Beaumont, who cycled around the world in a record-breaking 194 days in 2008.
Although bad weather had already hampered Sara G's progress, the team was within reach of breaking the 30-day record for an Atlantic crossing, which is considered the "four-minute mile" of ocean rowing. Mr Craughwell said it was "too early for disappointment" and the crew were simply grateful to be alive.
The other rowers are Ian Rowe, 45, from Bedford; Aodhan Kelly, 26, from Dublin; Simon Brown, 37, of Wiltshire; and Yaacov Mutnikas, of Berkshire. They must now wait for the Nord Taipei to dock in Gibraltar on 9 February.
'Toughest expedition of my life': Extracts from Mark Beaumont's blog
7 January 2012 "It has taken five days to be able to look at a screen without being sea-sick so this blog is a minor miracle!"
10 January "It's over a week since we saw land and this is, without comparison, the toughest expedition of my life."
12 January "Conditions have worsened. Our dream of being the first to cross the Atlantic in less than 30 days is slipping away."
17 January "We were in massive seas. A wave turned the boat over 100 degrees. Miraculously, we didn't capsize."
23 January "We are wondering how fast we could have been with better weather. We can speculate after we are back on dry land."
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...