There’s a thread here that says “Something not right with this story”. That’s spot on! This last weekend, a UK newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that a British couple had been rescued from their “stricken yacht”, Sara, by an Italian oil tanker after spending “an incredible 40 days drifting across the storm-ravaged Atlantic Ocean.” Full story here. The paper described Stuart Armstrong, 51, and his partner Andrea Davison, 48, as being “tired, exhausted and grateful to be returning home after their six week ordeal in which they ‘stared death in the face’.”
Sky News reported a similar story, under the headline “Brit Couple Saved After 40 Days Lost At Sea”, and other reports appeared in various newspapers and on TV and radio stations. The gist of every story painted a picture of two people, on a yacht with the rudder jammed hard over, so that – according to the Mail and Sunday’s quote from Armstrong “In effect, we were sailing round and round in circles.”, with additional electrical problems which put them almost out of contact with the outside world, except for a once or twice a week phone call to their children.
Commenting on the Indian Point’s response to the couple’s SOS The Mail on Sunday story says that “No other vessel had responded because of the couple’s remote location and also because, according to shipping officials, many captains are wary of distress calls due to piracy fears.” That comment alone would raise eyebrows among anyone in the shipping industry, for the fact is that piracy is almost unknown in the Atlantic Ocean, but there is more. Armstrong also said, according to The Mail on Sunday “The coastguard said it was too dangerous for anyone to come out so we just had to carry on drifting in the middle of the ocean.” Having followed several incidents in which yachtsmen competing in trans-Atlantic races have been rescued thanks to coastguard intervention, BYM News found it impossible to accept the veracity of that statement and spoke to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCGA) in the UK and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Norfolk, USA (MRCC Norfolk).You can read their combined version of events here.