A 25-strong team of local volunteers mobilised following the emergency call for the Baltimore RNLI Lifeboat shortly after 5.30pm on Monday.
Baltimore Sailing Club became the operations hub for a rescue effort that saw crew members provided with hot showers, dry clothes, a cosy fire and hot drinks.
The atmosphere changed from concern to jubilant celebration as the night wore on, the volunteers dishing out drinks and hot meals into the early hours as shaken sailors recounted the dramatic events.
A crew of eight were aboard the Baltimore Life- boat carrying out an exercise close to where the Rambler 100 tipped over, seven miles north-west of the Fastnet, when the emergency call was made.
“We had 16 land first aboard the Baltimore Lifeboat and they were taken directly here. They were cold and tired but thankfully not seriously injured. The five others rescued from the sea arrived here at the sailing club shortly after. They are lucky to be alive,” Tom Bushe, Baltimore Lifeboat operations manager said.
Accommodation was provided in four local holiday homes for all 20 crew members ferried to Baltimore.
The rescue and volunteer effort was singled out for particular recognition by skipper and yacht owner George David.
“We have high confidence in the facilities and the sophisticated communications systems available now, especially in the UK and Ireland. And what a welcome to get from the locals, cheering as we arrived at the pier, it’s been amazing really and we are very content to be warm and dry amidst this incredible hospitality here in Baltimore tonight,” he said.
Rescue crews and racing crews received cheers and applause from upwards of 40 concerned locals who assembled on the pier to witness their safe return.
Ambulance crews from Kanturk and Midleton were at the scene to ferry survivors to the clubhouse.