Skipper and owner George David said the 21 crew members reflected on the “spectacular skills” displayed by rescue teams during their stay in the west Cork fishing village after the 30-metre yacht capsized on August 15.
He praised the generosity of the local people “who gave us literally the clothes off their backs”.
The vessel has been towed to Gosport in Britain, marking the end of the first phase of salvage and recovery.
“This is a good time to reflect on the spectacular skills of everyone involved and the warmth and generosity of the people of Baltimore and to express the greatest imaginable appreciation and thanks to all,” Mr David said. “This was potentially a real tragedy.”
He said no reception anywhere in the world could match the crew’s welcome as they stepped safely onto the pier at Baltimore, following a three-hour ordeal at sea in which five crew were separated from the vessel and rescued from the open seas close to the Fastnet Rock.
“The Baltimore Sailing Club opened its doors wide and residents and members turned up to welcome and to help. They gave us literally the clothes off their back and after medical examinations, they supplied us with doses of whiskey, medicinal of course,” he wrote in the letter.
Based in Connecticut, USA, Mr David is the former chairman and chief executive officer of United Technologies Corporation.
The 69-year-old was one of five crew to become separated from the vessel and set adrift after the keel fin snapped and the vessel tipped over.
Extending thanks to all involved in the rescue, including the providers of accommodation at Mariner’s Cove, he said there were lessons learned for the crew and others in the aftermath of the event.
“There were hazards and there could have been fatalities. The rescue services and the people of Baltimore overcame the odds that were against us and for this we are profoundly grateful,” Mr David said.
Six members of the crew accompanied the vessel as it was towed to Britain, while the remaining 15 have travelled back to the USA, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.