Stormy Capsizing Ends Atlantic Crossing
Two rowers participating in what's billed as the "toughest rowing
race in the world" are safe after their 24-foot rowboat capsized in
the stormy Atlantic Ocean and left them clinging to a
barnacle-encrusted, upturned hull for 16 hours before rescuers could
Rowers Sarah Kessans and Emily Kohl were able to get help by
activating their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB),
which they had secured from the BoatU.S. EPIRB Rental Program.
At 1649 hours, Jan. 15, a 406 MHz EPIRB activation alert was
picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard. The alert, coming from a
location some 1,000 miles east of Cuba, was identified as an EPIRB
belonging to the BoatU.S. Foundation's Rental Program.
Following protocol, rescuers immediately contacted the BoatU.S.
24-hour dispatch center, which forwarded the boat and crew details
gleaned from the rower's rental registration form.
With the distressed vessel identified, a full-scale search and
rescue operation was launched, and the tallship
Stravos S. Niarchos, was
vectored to the racer's location. After sailing some 120 miles
through the night under rough conditions,
Stravos S. Niarchos reached Kessans and Kohl, who were
cold, tired, and disappointed that they wouldn't be completing the
They were saved by jumping into a life raft that was towed astern
of the ship.
"These racers did the right thing long before they left the
Canary Islands," said David Carter, manager of the BoatU.S. EPIRB
Rental Program. "Having one of our ACR rental EPIRBs aboard is an
inexpensive safety precaution that no offshore boater can afford to
go without," he continued.
It is believed that some open solar fan vents allowed too much
seawater to enter the craft to allow it to right after it was
knocked down by a wave.
The EPIRB Rental Program is funded by the voluntary contributions
of 630,000 BoatU.S. members. EPIRBs can be rented from the
foundation for as little as $50 a week. For more
information, call (888) 663-7472 or visit