Annapolis Crew of 4 Rescued from Damaged Sailboat 100 Miles Offshore

Four mariners are brought back to shore near Morehead City, North Carolina, aboard a 47-foot Coast Guard boat, after being rescued by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Healy.

A crew of four sailors were rescued from the Atlantic Ocean, 100 miles off Cape Lookout, North Carolina. They were attempting to deliver a brand new 55-foot sailboat to Miami from Annapolis.

The crew had apparently left Annapolis on Saturday, but ran into heavy wind and seas.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Norfolk got a satellite emergency distress notification Monday night. An Air Station Elizabeth City airplane crew was able to find the 55-foot Beneteau Oceanis sailboat and make contact with its crew by radio.

The sailboat’s mast was broken and its steering gear was damaged by a storm, but the four men on board weren’t injured. The Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba reached the crew on Tuesday. Ongoing bad weather conditions made the rescue difficult.

“I am extremely proud of the professionalism and performance of the entire crew of Escanaba, to safely locate and rescue these four mariners,” said Capt. Michael Turdo, the commanding officer of the Escanaba. “With the on scene weather continuing to deteriorate throughout the day, this could have quickly taken a turn for the worse.”

The Coast Guard crew assessed the damage, and transferred the mariners to a 47-foot lifeboat that brought the men back to North Carolina by Wednesday.

Beneteau America tells Bay Bulletin that the brand new sailboat was on its way to Miami, eventually to be part of the Miami International Boat Show in February. Beneteau hired the crew from a company specializing in delivering boats.

Beneteau America has a full report from all of the people involved in the incident, according to Marketing and Events Manager Aurore Bordage.

“This is a very rare incident,” says Bordage. “We need to do a full investigation.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano