By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Mon October 29, 2012
-- Crew members of a tall ship used for classic adventure films faced a harrowing real-life drama Monday as Hurricane Sandy
forced them to abandon ship about 90 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Fighting waves towering 18 feet high, and winds of 40 mph, the group of 17 from the HMS Bounty has boarded two lifeboats hoping for rescue as soon as possible, the Coast Guard said Monday.
The Coast Guard said it has "diminished search and rescue capabilities" as the Category 1 hurricane batters the U.S. East Coast. More sea rescues prompted by Sandy were reported in Delaware Bay.
Wearing special cold-weather survival suits, crew members were awaiting rescue Monday in lifeboats designed to hold 25 people. The boats also have canopies to help shelter them somewhat from Sandy's pelting rain and winds.