HOUSTON (FOX 26) -
It was supposed to be a five-to-seven day journey. Kevin Churchill, his brother and sister-in-law all set out to Isla Mujeres.
"For a forty-foot sailboat, making a passage to Isla Mujeres from here in five days is a fairly notable accomplishment," says Churchill.
A few days into their travels, something unexpected happened around 400 miles away from the United States. The rudder of that sailboat broke off and floated away.
"It's not going to roll over, but it's an extremely uncomfortable motion," says Churchill.
Churchill contacted the U.S. Coast Guard for help.
"They diverted a large tanker to us, the name of which I don't remember, but it was very nice of them to come to us, but they weren't offering to tow the boat, they were just offering to take us off and then the boat would drift and probably be lost," says Churchill.
Wanting to save the boat, Churchill decided to call his wife.
"He called to give me the lats and longs to try to find somebody that would tow him from Mexico," says Anne Churchill. And she did.
"It was about two hours of frantic and then we got the text that the Navy was coming to get them."
It was about 10 a.m. when the rudder broke off. By about midnight, the Mexican Navy’s 280-foot frigate ship, named Baja California, came to the rescue by towing the sailboat all the way to the coast of Mexico.
Churchill wrote a letter to the president of Mexico and the crew for helping them. He says they stuck by the boat, offering them drinks, checking to see if they needed any medicine and accepting nothing in return.
"They we're absolutely wonderful, I can't say enough good things, they were skillful, gracious, courteous, professional, very very good seamen," says Churchill.