Earlier this month, crewmembers aboard the Celebrity Century cruise ship recorded interesting video of the rescue of an injured skipper in the Pacific as the cruise ship sailed to Hawaii.

The incident involved the Quantum Leap, a 49 foot sailing yacht which was being delivered from San Diego to Honolulu by captain Phillip Johnson, together with his nephew and another friend. 

After the sailboat left California, it began experiencing problems with its generators and batteries, which compromised power to the sailboat’s satellite phone and GPS. 

Captain Johnson was injured badly when rough weather struck the sailboat. Because of the distance to the closest port (some 700 miles), the U.S. Coast Guard was unable to send a helicopter but contacted vessels in the area.

In this case, the Celebrity Century was sailing to Hilo.  As explained in an interesting account from Sail World,  Celebrity Captain Konstantinos Patsoulas turned the 815 foot cruise ship around and headed for the sailboat which took approximately 12 hours. 

You can see how the cruise ship deployed the rescue boat and took the crew of the Quantum Leap aboard the cruise ship, to the applause of the passengers and crew.  The sailboat was adrift as the Century then continued it cruise to Hawaii.  

Sail World also explains about how, three weeks later, the Quantum Leap washed ashore on a beach in Maui without its captain or crew . . . 



An interesting account of the rescue is also contained in an article "Rescue at Sea" by Lorraine Thompson who was cruising with her husband, Charles, on their 56th cruise. 

Video credit: wb6jao (YouTube)

  • paul smith

    Having been a passenger along with my wife, I can only say that we (unlike some of our fellow passengers from the other side of the pond), were very proud to have been aboard a ship that saved three peoples’ lives. Without the courageous efforts of the crew of the Century, these men may not have made it to dry land under such adverse weather considtions. The skipper had been injured quite badly, and without medical assistance would doubtless have succumbed to his wounds.
    We were made aware of some of our fellow passengers views on the subject. Some were of the view that we should have “left them to drift” That would have been noo less than murder in my view.
    Others were (I understand)requesting signatures to petition the US Congress to have the legal requirement to go to the aid of a stricken vessel made optional. To me that is below contempt.

  • Phillip Johnson

    Celebrity Cruise lines, like most maritime companies, is a signatory to a north Atlantic treaty. It simply states that they will rescue and be rescued in emergencies.
    A quick check of your cruise contract when you book a ticket mentions that you could be delayed or rerouted in event of any emergency. That would include rescues, weather, and any other problem which makes an itinerary or port of call changes.
    We certainly appreciated the rescue and the kind treatment I received in the ships hospital. I cannot say enough praises about the Celebrity Century and her crew.
    Captain Johnson