Rescue at Sea
0000 to 0300 hrs. We watched as the AP maneuvered to the established rendezvous point. At approximately 0015 hrs., we thanked the officers and crew of the Atlantic Prosperity once again before we were led by a crew member to the starboard pilot gangway. One by one we made our way down to its last step, climbed on to a Jacobs ladder and carefully lowered ourselves down the final 30 feet to the waiting USCG patrol boat. With the assist of USCG personnel, we made the step aboard the USCG boat so it was timed with the rising sea. Quickly we were escorted around the bow, along the outboard starboard rail and down below at amidships, sat down and strapped in for the final 15-minute high-speed trip to the USCG base in San Juan.
At approximately 0100 hours we arrived at the USCG base in San Juan, adjacent US Customs center. We thanked our coxswain and crew and went ashore.
We proceeded through the Customs process, presenting passports and filling out individual paperwork. Customs cleared us quickly and the Coast Guard staff began searching for a hotel to accommodate our stay in San Juan. After nearly an hour search, the Holiday Inn Express is found to have vacant rooms (it is a festival weekend – Halloween). A Coast Guard staff person took us to the Holiday Inn Express and we were now on our own.
Capt. Ed took a single room as he expects to remain in San Juan to initiate salvaging of the Epiphany. The four crewmembers shared two rooms for the night in anticipation of returning to Massachusetts later the same day. Before retiring, Harry calls American Airlines and makes arrangements for the four crew to return to Boston via Miami.
We all retire at approximately 0245 hrs.
The crew members returned to their normal lives. SV Epiphany was recovered about two weeks after the rescue and towed to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. She sustained tens of thousands of dollars in damages, but is salvageable. Research revealed that at least a dozen examples of this sailboat have experienced catastrophic rudder failure.