Fourteen sailors have been rescued by the crew of a Royal Navy warship after their racing yacht was stranded for two days in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Type 45 destroyer was diverted 500 miles from a routine deployment to rescue the crew, travelling at 30 knots to arrive at the yacht’s position – some 610 miles south west of Land’s End – at around 2.30pm on Saturday.
The operation concluded at around 5pm and all crew members were said to be alive and well.
They were treated for minor injuries and given hot food and the chance to call their families once on board the vessel.
The Challenger, which is normally berthed in the Clyde Estuary, in Scotland, could not be recovered.
Petty Officer Max Grosse, the Chief Bosun’s Mate on board HMS Dragon, said: When we arrived on scene it was clear the yacht had lost its mast and looked in a pretty desperate state after nearly 48 hours drifting in the challenging conditions.
We were however hugely relieved to see all 14 crew alive and well.
Despite racing through the night we only had three hours of daylight remaining in which to safely remove the crew.
HMS Dragon is fitted with two large sea boats capable of carrying six passengers each.
We were able to use both boats to transfer the crew as quickly as possible.
The prevailing weather conditions and notorious Atlantic swell made it enormously challenging though and really tested the skills of my experienced sea boat coxswains.