Skip to main content

Tall ship rescues ocean rowers

JAN. 19 — The only American team competing in the Atlantic Rowing Race  was rescued Monday by the crew of a tall ship after their rowing boat capsized about 1,300 miles east of Puerto Rico.

For 16 hours Sarah Kessans, who is 22, and Emily Kohl, 23, both of Illinois, clung to their overturned 24-foot boat, called American Fire, after a 10- to 12-foot wave rolled it, according to information on the team’s Web site. Before abandoning the boat, the team set off their EPIRB, alerting the Coast Guard.

“[A] large rogue wave slammed into the port side of the boat causing it to roll to starboard, slamming our bodies into the side of the cabin and then onto the ceiling,” the team wrote on the site. “Immediately water started pouring in from the vents.”

Coast Guard officials in a C-130 airplane located Kessans and Kohl, and circled overhead until the crew of the 180-foot tall ship, Stavros S. Niarchos, pulled them to safety at about 5 a.m. Monday, according to the Coast Guard.

Kessans and Kohl were attempting to row the more than 2,550 nautical miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean. They were the second team to need rescuing since the race began Nov. 30.

For the complete story see the April issue of Soundings.

— Jason Fell