By Brett Gibbons

PALMA
FORMER Port of Pollensa bar owners Stuart Armstrong and Andrea Davison “stared death in the face” before being rescued after 40 days stranded at sea.
The pair, who ran the Nag's Head, were sailing across the Atlantic when the rudder on the pair's 13-metre yacht Sara broke over 1'200 miles off their intended destination of Antigua.

They had set off from Cape Verde on the west coast of Africa on January 3, but six days later their problems began.
The couple, both experienced sailors, decided to continue their journey using a temporary rudder after initially informing US Coastguard that they did not want to be rescued.

But a series of other mechanical mishaps and worsening weather forced the pair to finally issue a Mayday alert. They were eventually pulled out safely last week after a terrifying 40-day ordeal.

Close friend Kevin Park, who runs JK Bar in Port of Pollensa, was full of praise for the pair's sailing skills, but he admitted he did fear the worst.
He said he would gladly place the lives of his daughters in the hands of Stuart, who he labelled “one of the best skippers around.” “We were actually on Sara in the Caribbean 12 months ago and we encountered a Force Nine gale. Stuart was in charge and he coped magnificently and we never felt in danger.” Mr Park said the former Pollensa bar owners must have been in a desperate situation to call for assistence. “It must have been very bad for him to abandon ship. He has crossed the Atlantic many times in that boat and also won the Heineken Cup yacht race in the Caribbean so he knows the seas around there very well,” added Mr Park. “After the rudder broke, the alternator packed up which meant they could not produce drinking water because their desalination equipment would not work or had no power for their satellite phone, so Stuart decided to summon help,” added Mr Park, who said the couple had attempted to contact him soon after their rescue.