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All-day drama during Atlantic rally

DEC. 11 — Some of the participants in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which kicked off Nov. 25 from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, found themselves in a tense situation over the weekend.

Dec. 7, a crewmember on board the yacht Avocet was knocked unconscious by the sail boom during a broach, and his crewmates called for medical help, according to a news report from the World Cruising Club. The MaritimeRescueCoordinationCenter in Martinique attempted to find a ship that could evacuate the crewmember, with little success initially. Finally, the cruise ship Costa Mediterranea responded and a successful evacuation took place in the early hours of the following day. The injured crewmember is under the care of two ship’s doctors and is being transferred to a hospital in Barbados, according to the report.

There was more drama. The three-person crew of Spam, a 31-foot catamaran not participating in the ARC, sent out a mayday call later that day and MRCC Falmouth in Cornwall, England, sent out a call to all of the ARC yachts, giving them the position and the situation of the yacht in distress. Spam had been dismasted and holed earlier that morning, according to the report.

The crew of Navillus, a Bavaria 50, heard the mayday and came to the rescue. The three people from Spam transferred over to Bavaria in a life raft, which was then slashed so it would sink. The catamaran was left sinking but still afloat, and all ARC yachts were warned to stay clear. Navillus and her unexpected passengers are now back on track, bound for St. Lucia.

ARC is in its 22nd year of crossing the Atlantic, starting in November and ending mid-December. With more than 200 yachts ranging from 27 to 85 feet, it has become the largest trans-oceanic sailing event in the world, according to organizers. The yachts sail 2,700 nautical miles and are expected to arrive at St. Lucia this week.

— Elizabeth Ellis