Eight rowers – according to the ‘Toby Wallace’ team’s website, seven men and a woman, among them Britons, a Zimbabwean and a Frenchman – were aboard the boat when one of them fell overboard.
They set off from Gran Canaria on 28 January.
The alarm was raised a little over two weeks into the row, during the early hours of Monday morning, 15 February, just after midnight when the lightweight rowing boat was some 1,343 nautical miles (approximately 2,700 kilometres) south-west of the Azorean island of São Miguel.
Sea and air search rescue mechanisms were activated by the Portuguese Navy which also enlisted the help of the MV Sea Pearl merchant ship that was around 127 nautical miles from the rowing boat at the time of the incident.
In a statement issued on Monday the Portuguese Navy said: “During the searches carried out by aircraft and by boat there were no sightings of the [missing rower], due to which at around 6.20pm (on Monday) the boat terminated searches and proceeded with the rescue of the crew, having collected all members (seven) by 6.50pm.
“Considering the search efforts by the various means employed and the degree of probability of finding the [missing rower], highly conditioned by the fact that at the time of falling overboard the rower was not wearing a lifejacket, the Ponta Delgada Maritime Search and Rescue Centre ended the search.”
At the time of the rescue the Navy and the rowers faced winds of around 40 kilometres an hour and north-easterly waves of up to three metres.
The António Enes navy ship, a Lockheed P-3C belonging to the Portuguese Air force, a Falcon-50 belonging to the French Navy that was stationed in Dakar, Senegal, and the Sea Pearl merchant ship were involved in the search.
This boat and its rowers are not to be confused with the five-man British team ‘Team Essence’ that recently set off on a similar challenge from Lagos in the Algarve, who were attempting to set a new record for rowing unaided from southern Europe to South America.
Team Essence’s live GPS signal on Tuesday placed them off the coast of Arrecife, on the island of Lanzarote, Canary Islands.
They set off from Lagos on Sunday 7 February.
An update on Team Essence’s facebook page posted on Monday evening said “Conditions at sea are hard (…) Team Essence were on the Sea anchor due to the seas and winds as they have taken a beating - but are all okay!”
A recent blog posting from Team Essence rower Oliver Baily, posted on Sunday, said: “After eight relatively dry days at sea, it gave us a reminder of its power last night. At midnight in the pitch black we were flung around like a rider on a rodeo horse over swell, surf and froth. The wind was blowing a hoolie.
“On board the lads are pushing their bodies to maximum exertion, all transfixed by the Raymarine instrument cluster, illustrating course over ground, speed and distance to way point, the big number that seems to take an age to lessen. With brave hearts, minds and above all, a sense of humour, Team Essence paddle on towards trade winds.
“The Ocean reminds us to take nothing for granted, especially our safety.”