Novelist rescued by maritime students after sailboat damaged

AP News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2015 6:40 PM

CASTINE, Maine (AP) — An author whose sailboat was battered by storms while crossing the Atlantic has some students from Maine Maritime Academy to thank for his rescue.

The college's training vessel, State of Maine, rescued Michael Hurley more than 500 miles off Nova Scotia on Wednesday after his vessel, The Prodigal, was damaged while sailing from South Carolina to Ireland, officials said.

The 500-foot State of Maine, with Hurley safely aboard, was heading Thursday toward Portland, Maine, where it was due to arrive this weekend, said college spokeswoman Jennifer DeJoy.

South Carolina-based Hurley, whose first novel was titled "The Prodigal," said on his website that he plans to draw on the sailing experience for an upcoming book, "The Passage." His wife confirmed his rescue on Hurley's Facebook page.

The rescue, which occurred while the State of Maine was returning from Spain, provided good experience for the students, who learned about search and rescue coordination, open ocean rendezvous and hazardous passenger transfers, officials said.

"I'm so proud of our fine students, officers, crew and staff, who were put to the test," said Maine Maritime President William J. Brennan.

This wasn't Hurley's first brush with maritime disaster.

His website indicates he lost another sailboat, the 32-foot Gypsy Moon, on the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. His experiences on that solo voyage became part of his book, "Once Upon a Gypsy Moon."