PORTSMOUTH

U.S. Coast Guard crews rescued four men Wednesday after their 55-foot sailboat was demasted in a storm more than 100 miles off Cape Lookout, N.C.

The men had left Annapolis, Md., on Saturday on a Beneteau Oceanis sailboat and were headed to Miami when they encountered heavy wind and seas, a news release said.

Rescue Coordination Center Norfolk received a satellite emergency distress notification Monday night.

Later that evening, an Air Station Elizabeth City HC-130 Hercules airplane crew found the boat and contacted the crew, the release said. The boat’s mast was broken and the steering gear was damaged.

The Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba reached them Tuesday. The cutter’s crew took the men aboard and headed back toward North Carolina, the release said. On Wednesday morning, a Coast Guard motor lifeboat crew brought the men back to shore.

"I am extremely proud of the professionalism and performance of the entire crew of Escanaba, to safely locate and rescue these four mariners," Capt. Michael Turdo, commanding officer of the Escanaba, said in the release. "With the on scene weather continuing to deteriorate throughout the day, this could have quickly taken a turn for the worse."

The men did not report any injuries, and the owner of the boat is coordinating salvage of the vessel.

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