'Robyn Dougall - photo by Ian Rutherford, Edinburgh Evening News'
Is this a world-wide record? Scottish teen, 15-year-old Robyn Dougall, has just been crowned 2013 Royal Yachting Association Young Volunteer of the Year for driving a rescue boat in the rescue of yachts and their sailors on Scottish waterway the Firth of Forth.
Not old enough to be allowed drive a car, the skilled rescue driver has been coming to the aid of sailors twice, three and four times her age while driving a rescue rigid inflatable boat (RIB) for the Royal Forth Yacht Club.
Hers was not a normal introduction to driving fast boats. Robyn had her first experience of driving a ski bike belonging to her dad, Ken Dougall, 56, at just three years old.
The student at the Edinburgh Academy has already chalked up saving two lives and five yachts in dramatic rescue missions.
Being anointed as the 2013 Royal Yachting Association Young Volunteer of the Year on Saturday was, however, the crowning moment.
She said: 'I just grew up around it because my dad was keen but I love power boating – it’s just a thrill with the speed.' she told the Edinburgh News.
'I took my friends out in a boat and had to teach them how to do it – I won my first award when I was ten and now I’m a cadet with the club.'
Robyn made her first dramatic rescue after she spotted a sailor who had gone overboard as part of a yacht festival on the Forth last summer – and revealed he would have had only moments to live.
'We were helping out with the yacht races in force seven winds and we got a radio call to say a guy had got swept overboard,' she added.
'I found the boat, pointed it out, and we got him in – he probably only had a few minutes because he wasn’t wearing a life jacket.'
On another occasion she helped recover a sailor who had been swept overboard from a yacht in rough seas off Leith and also raced to the aid of a vessel that had struck rocks off Aberdour.
The teenager, who has no formal training and is planning to become a lawyer, said not many of her classmates knew she was involved in the sport but were 'shocked' and 'quite impressed'.
by Sail-World Cruising round-up
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10:40 PM Fri 7 Feb 2014GMT
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