US Sailing has awarded a Hanson Rescue Medal to Erik Slockers (Southlake, Texas) and the crew of his Catalina 22 Windpower, Bridget Lane (Austin, Texas) and Jay Sacco (Austin, Texas), for coming to the aid of a sailor during the 2011 Leukemia Cup regatta, hosted by the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club, on Lake Lewisville in Texas on May 7, 2011.
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Winds were blowing at 18 to 25 knots wind with steep waves. Windpower’s crew was prepared for the conditions.
'Bridget, Erik, and I had our PFD’s on all day,' said Sacco. 'It was windy enough and the water was cold enough to warrant caution.'
Lane, who was keeping a lookout, spotted a person in the water who was not wearing a life jacket but was hanging onto a bright blue boat cushion. Keeping a close watch on the situation, Lane alerted her shipmates that no boat was returning to pick up the sailor.
Luckily, the cushion made a good target. Sacco, who was steering, sailed downwind of the swimmer, turned into the wind, and stopped next to him. Windpower’s crew secured a swim ladder at the boat’s stern and helped him on board. The swimmer was uninjured; however, he was suffering the effects of the 68-degree water, which he was in for over five minutes. The swimmer later explained that he had been attempting to recover the cushion from the lake when the boom on his boat hit him and knocked him overboard.
Windpower’s crew hailed to his boat, Antioch, which came alongside and recovered him. Both boats continued to race the rest of the day.
The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded by US Sailing’s Safety-at-Sea Committee to any person who rescues or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other perils at sea within the territorial waters of the United States, or as part of a sailboat race or voyage that originated or stopped in the U.S. Since it was established in 1990 by friends of the late Mr. Hanson, an ocean-racing sailor from the Chesapeake Bay, the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal has been presented to more than 180 boats. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal.
For the most authoritative daylong seminar on safe seamanship, heavy weather tactics, weather forecasting, communications and boat preparation, register for an upcoming US Sailing Safety-at-Sea Seminar. Please visit the event website for details on these certification opportunities.