The 38-foot sailboat Hokulani was damaged in rough seas March 2 about 50 miles northwest of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, prompting the two sailors aboard to activate their EPIRB.
“We have been dragging our drogue for 18 hours. I don’t know if we can make it,” one of the sailors told the Coast Guard’s Seventh District out of Miami, which launched an Ocean Sentry patrol aircraft and, through the AMVER voluntary global ship reporting system, diverted the 965-foot cruise ship Norwegian Star to the scene about 30 miles away.
Click play to watch videos of the rescue taken from the Norwegian Star.
The Coast Guard said that when it established contact with Hokulani, the crew reported that they had been “struck by a wave that caused severe damage to the vessel."
When the Norwegian Star arrived March 3, it dispatched a RIB, which brought the sailors back to the ship. Hokulani was marked as a hazard to navigation and left adrift. The cruise ship headed to port in Tampa, Fla.
Winds were 20 knots from the east-southeast, visibility was about 8 nautical miles and seas were 7 feet out of the east at the time of the distress call, according to the Coast Guard. Seas had calmed to 2 to 4 feet at the time of the rescue.