Text & photos by BAR
At 13:10GMT on the 2nd July we picked up a "PAN PAN" message that was being broadcast from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC), Halifax.. This is recognised as a transmission from a
vessel in immediate need of assistance. We plotted their position and found that they were some 180 miles ahead of us. The Bar Protector's Master decided that we were in a position to assist and we informed
Halifax of this. They called back asking us to proceed and at 0400hrs we were in their area. Unfortunately, with it
still being dark and with limited visibility due to fog, we could not see them and they offered to fire a flare. This was successful and they were them immediately located some 2 or 3 miles from our Starboard bow. As the guys were not in immediate danger, we waited for daylight before manoeuvering into a favorable position, where we were able, at around 0630GMT, to start the recovery of the "Atlantic Spirit". Over the next half an hour the guys and their rowing boat were lifted from the Atlantic Ocean onto the deck of the Bar Protector. You can follow the progress with the photographs below and we are very pleased to be able to report that the whole operation reached a very successful and safe conclusion.
Using the Bar Protector's sophisticated computer controlled "Dynamic Positioning System", Captain Ford Renton expertly manoeuvres the vessel towards the stricken four man rowing boat "Atlantic Spirit". The sea anchor of the rowing boat can clearly be seen here on the left as one of the rowing team starts to retrieve it. A head line had been attached to the boat in order to keep them from drifting away from Bar Protector's side while the tricky business of picking the boat up was about to take place.
The marine crew, under the direction of Bill Harvey (Bosun), had arranged two slings with spreader bars to position under the "Atlantic Spirit" for lifting the whole boat bodily out of the water. With the guys in the boat steadying the assembly the crane driver (Micky Cooper) took advantage of a momentary lull in the swell to smartly lift the boat out of the water and deposit her on the Bar Protector's main deck.
Its all over bar the eating and for the first time in over three weeks Mark Stubbs
(team leader), George Rock, Rob Munslow and Nigel Morris tuck into a hearty breakfast prepared by Richard Mansell and his team.
It is good to be able to report on our website that all four oarsmen are safe and in good health. They are naturally very disappointed that they have not been able to make it to Falmouth, where it is almost certain that the record they were attempting would have be smashed convincingly. But they are fit to fight another day and we look forward to seeing them succeed on their next attempt!