Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2 became involved in a rescue operation on Saturday in the mid Atlantic after a number of yachts got into difficulties due to treacherous sea conditions in a severe storm.
Queen Mary 2 answered the distress calls from solo yachtsman Mervyn Wheatley’s yacht, Tamarind, and was able to rescue him and bring him safely on board.
Mervyn and his yacht were part of a floatilla of 22 yachts competing in a transtatlantic race, organised by the Royal Western Yacht Club (RWYC) from Plymouth, England to Newport, Rhode Island and the sea conditions on Saturday were so severe that they were facing waves of 15 metres and wind speeds of 60 knots. Two other yachts also got into difficulty, one losing their mast and the other one sinking.
Mervyn is safely on board Queen Mary 2 and they are now heading for Halifax.
Race director for the RWYC, John Lewis, spoke to the BBC and confirmed that three race competitors gave off emergency signals, and a further two needed help from the Canadian coastguard in Halifax.
“I’ve been involved with these races for 25 years now, and this is the most extreme low depression going across the Atlantic at this time of year. So it’s very unusual, but these are professional sailors, they’re used to arduous conditions but not really a once in a lifetime storm like this one.”
Captain Chris Wells confirmed the safe rescue of Mr Wheatley by Queen Mary 2, he spoke to the BBC and said:
“Mr Wheatley had been found in “big seas” with high waves, and was brought aboard via the ship’s rescue boat. He is very happy to be here. I think he will have a much more leisurely and luxury transit to the other side of the Atlantic than he would have done in his 38-foot boat.”
The crew of the other yachts affected by the storm were safely rescued too.
Queen Mary 2 is expected to berth in Halifax on Tuesday 13th June before departing for New York.
Feature Image: Cruisemarsh