The rescue occurred last Friday. Officers noticed at about 9 p.m. -- with winds at 30 knots and seas at nine feet -- two rescue flares shot into the evening sky. The ship changed course, proceeding ever so cautiously as no one had any idea what kind of vessel was in distress. Using searchlights, they captured a 50-ft. capsized sailboat with two men clinging to its rudders.
Nordic Empress captain Yngvar Knutsen positioned the ship to block the wind and waves as the ship lowered a rescue boat. The sailors were onboard shortly thereafter. Both were treated for hypothermia by the ship's medical staff and disembarked in New York with Nordic Empress' "regular" passengers.