Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 lent a helping hand to a Canadian rower, Mylène Paquette, in the mid-Atlantic yesterday (Sept 26). Paquette is aiming to become the first North American woman to row solo across the Atlantic, a total of 2,700 nautical miles. Queen Mary 2, which left New York on Sept. 22 on a seven-night transatlantic crossing to Southampton, England, received the request to assist yesterday and prepared a package of essential supplies overnight as the ship headed out to help.

The rendezvous with Paquette’s boat occurred at 46 degrees 49.9 minutes North, 034 degrees 53.1 minutes West at 1300 hours U.K. time. Queen Mary 2 greeted her with three blasts from the ship’s whistle and then slowly circled the boat at 10 knots to calm the water before four watertight canisters containing the supplies were dropped into the sea and collected by Paquette. There were cheers from the passengers who lined Queen Mary 2’s rails as the ship’s whistle sounded many times more. Paquette spoke with the ship via VHF radio and this was relayed to passengers through the ship’s public address system.

Having set out from Halifax on July 7, Lorient, France, Paquette had been hit by the remnants of Atlantic Storm Humberto and had lost her anchor and a satellite phone, among other supplies. In response, Queen Mary 2 donated a new satellite phone and two drogue anchors which the ship’s crew prepared on board overnight. The drogue anchors hold the boat’s position when it is not being rowed. After 83 days alone in her boat and with about two months still to go, Paquette was also supplied with fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, pastries, muesli, crackers, chocolate, plus bottled water and coffee, English tea, mint tea and hot chocolate sachets. In addition, the ship supplied a scraper to remove the barnacles underneath the boat, duct tape, soap, shampoo and body lotion.

“This is a dream come true,” said Paquette. “For me to see Queen Mary 2 in the middle of the Atlantic is something I would have never hoped for. I want to thank all of the members of the crew for making this encounter happen.”