Please select your home edition
Edition
KZRaceFurlers

Unintentional heroes win Canadian rescue award

by Jeff Bolichowski, Windsor Star/Sail-World on 2 Feb 2011
2010 Rescue of the Year award for Chris Busch, Nick Crooks, Lindie Rudover, Carol Crooks, Alan Johnson and Alex Baker - photo by Scott Webster SW
Whenever you step onto a yacht to go sailing, there's a possibility that you will face a life threatening situation, if not yours, then someone else's. How will you fare? The recipients of the Canadian Safe Boating Council's 2010 Rescue of the Year were tested and not found wanting.

The six crew members of the yacht Private Idaho, who were honoured in Toronto last month at a ritzy function at the Sheraton Centre, admitted that they had previously done 'man overboard' practice in daylight, and had done a debriefing of 'safety stuff' just before they left, which stood them in good stead.

In a fifty knot storm, close to midnight, the Private Idaho, with crew members Chris Busch, Nick Crooks, Lindie Rudover, Carol Crooks, skipper Alan Johnson and Alex Baker on board, passed a strobe light floating in the water. Strobe lights are often attached to life jackets.

'I had that sinking feeling,' Carol Crooks told the local news outlet www.windsorstar.com!The_Windsor_Star, though there was nobody in the water.

Not long after that, the crew heard someone shout, 'Help!'

'All of us just turned our heads to the right and boom, there he was,' said Crooks, who said she illuminated the man's head with a cheap flashlight she'd stuck in her pocket by chance. 'The water was so black and the sky was so black it was unbelievable we found him.'

That man was Branden Brickles of Fenton, Michigan, who had been hurled off his 36-foot catamaran by the stiff winds. The storm had blown the boat away from him, and he didn't have a life-jacket on when he hit the water.

'Luckily I got blown back into the path of another boat,' he said. 'I was really thinking, 'I didn't want to die this way.'

Soon, Crooks said, the crew had unpacked a large spotlight and trained it on Brickles. But even getting close enough to pick him up was difficult, Crooks said.

'In three-to five-foot waves we couldn't approach him the way you're supposed to approach him. We had to do a special spin and approach him at a different angle.'

Through it all, Johnson, who was at the helm, said he and the crew kept their cool. But as he turned the boat around, they lost sight of Brickles and his heart sank.

'Worst three seconds of my life,' he said.

The crew, though, quickly located Brickles with the spotlight, and got the boat in the right position for the roaring waves to carry him to the hull.

'It seemed like an hour but it had probably been three or four minutes,' Johnson said. 'His face was barely above water at all.'

Crooks said it took two tries for Brickles to catch a tossed life preserver, at which point he simply gave up and began floating on the device. The crew managed to reel him in to the rear of the sloop, where Johnson said they dragged him up a ladder.

'They did a great job,' Brickles said. 'They got me right next to the boat.'

When Brickles came aboard, Crooks said, he was bloated, vomiting water and unable to remember his own name.

'I'm proud,' Johnson told The Windsor Star. 'I'm proud our crew handled it so professionally.'

As for Brickles, he told The Star he's fine today, but he'll be wearing his life-jacket when he sails from now on.

Good thinking!
Mariners Museum 660x82Mackay BoatsInsun - AC Program

Related Articles

Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt I
In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. Over nine (+ve) in an aircraft, and without a G-suit, you will be unconscious. So at three G’s, and pulling no punches with them either, we not only enjoyed our opportunity to sit with Gianguido Girotti (G3), we got to learn a lot as well!
Posted today at 3:43 am
2017 J/111 World Championship - Preview
Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice. Add in international travel, and the complexity snowballs. Then, weave in the pressures and prestige of a World Championship— in this case the 2017 J/111 World Championships (August 23-27, 2017), hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California — and situation compounds.
Posted on 21 Aug
41st Annual Wooden Boat Festival - Overall report
Tall ships and everything in between—North America’s largest wooden boat festival celebrates its 41st year Tall ships, paddleboards, kayaks, tugboats, and everything in between—North America’s largest wooden boat festival celebrates its 41st year on September 8–10, 2017. Demonstrations, presentations, plays, music, dancing, and great food—this is a weekend of fun for all ages
Posted on 17 Aug
Coast Guard, locals launch search after empty, homemade raft found
Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England also activated the Rhode Island Taskforce for assistance. The Coast Guard launched a search for a possible person in the water Saturday after an unmanned, homemade raft was found drifting in Mt. Hope Bay, near the mouth of the Taunton River on the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border. A good Samaritan alerted Coast Guard watchstanders to the empty raft at about 7 a.m.
Posted on 13 Aug
Early-storms one indicator of active Atlantic hurricane season ahead
Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season, and they increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.
Posted on 12 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Coast Guard searching mid-Atlantic region for 73-year-old sailor
The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. Watchstanders in the fifth Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth received a report at 7 a.m. that a 73-year-old sailor named Joseph Calland aboard the 39-foot sailboat Nennette is overdue.
Posted on 3 Aug
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
Cheeki Rafiki - Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter
Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter The Director of Stormforce Coaching, the company that ran Cheeki Rafiki, is set to face retrial for manslaughter over the deaths of the four crew. They were 700nm from Nova Scotia, returning to Southampton after racing in Antigua when the keel feel off. It is said that previous groundings had weakened the keel bolts....
Posted on 17 Jul
Rytov continues to defend lead at 2017 Melges 20 European Championship
On the eve of final day at Melges 20 European Championship Russia's Igor Rytov & his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command On the eve of the final day at the 2017 Melges 20 European Championship, Russia's Igor Rytov and his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command. Thanks to a very consistent performance thus far, they are inching ever closer to capturing the top European title and trophy.
Posted on 15 Jul