Windstar Cruises' 14,745-ton, 312-passenger Wind Surf came to the aid of a catamaran in the Caribbean earlier this week. The ship received a call Tuesday evening from the Martinique-based Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to join in an emergency rescue effort off the north coast of Guadeloupe. Sofrane, a French catamaran, was experiencing engine problems in 16-foot seas with winds gusting to 40 knots; only one man was onboard.
Interestingly, Windstar crew did not pick up the stranded sailor. Their role in the rescue operation was to position their five-mast, seven-sail ship near the troubled catamaran in order to create a lee -- an area of shelter in the opposite direction from which the wind blows. This windbreak created a calm area for the smaller Sofrane to remain in until a rescue boat could take it into tow two hours later, at 9:25 p.m.
Wind Surf was released by the MRCC at 9:29 p.m. and continued on to its next port, St. Martin, as scheduled.
It's not uncommon for cruise ships to alter course to assist fellow seamen in trouble. Earlier this fall, P&O Cruises' Ventura came to the aid of an injured yachtsman in the Mediterranean after intercepting his mayday call -- and over the summer, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn rescued two sailors in one day.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor
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Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf Aids in Emergency Rescue
December 26, 2008