Two trans-Atlantic rowers were pulled from the sea in a dramatic rescue early on Wednesday after spending the night in a life raft they were forced to scramble into when their 26-foot boat was struck by a large wave and capsized.
Tom Fancett, 23, from London and his Dutch friend Tom Sauer, also 23, were picked up by a cruise ship nearly 500 miles southwest of the Canary islands, eight days after departing for Barbados in the 2011 Atlantic Challenge race.
In a message to race organizers, Sauer told how the pair were changing places in the boat when disaster struck on Tuesday evening. "The ocean was quite calm. We were in great spirits after the first eight days in the race. Suddenly our boat was rocked by an enormous wave, the size of which we've never seen before. Our boat was thrown over and capsized. The cabin flooded.
"We desperately tried to turn the boat back up again but to no avail. In fact it started to sink. We managed to get the life raft and life jackets out during some very nervous and difficult moments. We entered the life raft and saw our dream literally sink in the ocean.”