Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

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 .. .
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!
Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Zhik Yachting 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
D-Marin Farr 40 Zadar Regatta – Overall report
Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Those two top-notch programs have resumed their rivalry this week in the waters off this historic city along the Dalmatian coast.
Posted on 23 Sep
Impressive tow-in freestyle show on the water in Cold Hawaii
The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competitio The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competition as expected with light winds and small waves.
Posted on 21 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The hurricanes headed for Hawaii and Florida
The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The first of two hurricanes headed toward Hawaii lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm. Meanwhile, in Florida, a tropical storm gained in strength and is now designated as a hurricane.
Posted on 4 Sep
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun