Cruise ship rescues Rhode Island sailors
BRISTOL, R.I. (NBC) -- Adrift at sea, a local skipper has his sailboat back after his crew had to be rescued from the open ocean.
Several videos have been posted on YouTube of a dramatic rescue at sea. The Norwegian Star cruise ship came to rescue the crew of the 41-foot sloop Avenir.
Joe Murray of Bristol is the boat’s owner. He had completed the famed Newport to Bermuda race then flew home. He had a crew take his sailboat back but the trip home was not smooth. The sailors hit rough weather and rough seas.
"The boat could handle that but the rudder couldn't handle it, snapped below the water line, and they couldn't steer the boat," said Murray.
With a few crew members getting seasick and unsure what Tropical Depression Debby was going to do, Murray said he called the Coast Guard for help, which led to the cruise ship rescue.
Once his crew was safe, there was the challenge of getting his boat back. The boat remained adrift for nearly two weeks. Luckily, Murray said the boat was drifting north, and he still had the race transponder on it, so he was able to keep track of the sailboat. Murray eventually got a New Bedford salvage company to bring the boat home.
“It’s a little banged up but in good shape, and we’re lucky to get it back. The transponder only had few more weeks on it, and it would've been gone," Murray said.
Murray said he considers himself lucky and grateful. “I’m glad everyone's safe, that's what matters."