Big Rescue for a Smallish Ship

This is just a nice story, in a world that sometimes doesn't have enough of them…

A sailboat off the coast of Croatia was in trouble. Its sails were ripped, its engines weren't working and high winds had created swells large enough that the boat was in danger of capsizing.

On board were seven passengers. They fired two red distress flares. Vessels in the area tried to respond, most of them vessels small enough that their attempts to help were in desperation. The first vessel to respond was the Wind Surf, the world's and Windstar Cruises' largest sailing ship but still about one-sixth the size of most ocean-going cruise ships that carry 10 times as many people.

The Wind Surf carries 312. It has six decks and gross tonnage of 14,745 (the average-sized Celebrity Millennium's gross tonnage, as an example, is 91,000). The Wind Surf is 535 feet long at the waterline and is powered by seven sails and six electric engines. So while it's the biggest sailing ship in the world, it's still small in rough seas.

In response to the disabled boat, Wind Surf captain Alan MacAry changed direction and launched a rescue boat carrying two officers and two sailors. But the rescue boat couldn't get alongside the small craft in nine-foot seas. The Wind Surf was able to provide enough protection by blocking the wind that the crew on the sailboat were able to repair the sails enough to gain some measure of control.

By the time the Croatian Coast Guard arrived, the sailboat was headed for land and the Wind Surf was headed back to its next port.

Nobody drowned, so the rescue story didn't get much attention. If Captain MacAry hadn't reacted the way he did, it probably would have become a bigger story…and seven sailboat passengers wouldn't have been as grateful as they are.


Celebrity Equinox
14 nights
November 26, 2012
Rome, Florence, Toulon, Barcelona, Cartagena, Funchal, Fort Lauderdale
Inside:  $599
Cost per day: $42
www.celebritycruises.com
 

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