Monday, February 23, 2009

Couple Rescued After 40 Days at Sea

A British couple who, between them, have sailed the Atlantic Ocean a total of 11 times, have been saved from the middle of that same ocean by an Italian tanker after spending 40 days disabled and drifting.

Stuart Armstrong, 51, and his partner Andrea Davison, 48, are on board supertanker Indian Point and heading back to Amsterdam.

Although they escaped unhurt, they were tired, exhausted and grateful to be heading home after their six-week ordeal.

The drama began on January 9, six days after the couple left the Cape Verde Islands off the West Coast of Africa on board their yacht Sara and headed for Antigua where they intended to anchor until April.

But midway through the 2,550-mile journey disaster struck and the rudder on the 13-metre yacht jammed to starboard. Attempts to fix it were useless. At this stage the couple, who live on the yacht in Majorca, were in the middle of the Atlantic, 1,200 miles from Antigua – five days sailing time away and out of range for any rescue attempt.

Speaking from the bridge of the Indian Point, Mr Armstrong said: 'In effect we were sailing round and round in circles as the rudder was stuck all the way over.

'The coastguard said it was too dangerous for anyone to come out so we just had to carry on drifting in the middle of the ocean.

'We tried to counteract our continual turning by putting droves over the side to try and help point the boat towards land but we didn’t really have any great success.

'At first we were not too bothered as we had a good supply of dry provisions, the usual things you have on a boat - pasta, kidney beans, biscuits, rice and soya. There was also plenty of water to keep us going, the radio was still working and we had power so there was no need to be too worried. Read the full story here.

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