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Young sailors awarded medal for windsurfer rescue

by US Sailing 7 Dec 2023 12:28 PST December 3, 2023
Alex Porter, Bob Cummings, Elizabeth Cleaves, Ian Park, Leon Van Os, Genevieve Young, Alex Deaton, Mercedes Porter-Via, Virginia Hannan district director for congressman Pat Fallon and Jeff Progelhof US Sailing Area F Representative © US Sailing

The US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee has awarded the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to Rush Creek Yacht Club Youth Sailors for outstanding seamanship and awareness in the rescue of a windsurfer on Lake Hubbard in Dallas, Texas.

Seven youth sailors were honored on December 3rd in a ceremony at Rush Creek Yacht Club, in Heath, Texas. The Award was presented by US Sailing Representative Jeffrey Progelhof, of the Texas Sailing Association. The sailors honored were:

  • Alex Deaton
  • Mercedes Porter-Via
  • Genevieve Young
  • Leon Van Os
  • Ian Park
  • Ally Ravji
  • Elizabeth Cleaves
The rescue took place on July 16, 2021 on Lake Hubbard, located northeast of Dallas, Texas. Mr. Bob Cummings, a 6'10? windsurfer had lost his foil board and rig in 20 MPH wind gusts. The sailor was drifting in the middle of the lake, at least 2 miles from any shore, tired, cold, and considerably worried.

Youth Sailor Leon Van Os, visiting from Ensenada, Mexico, was sailing with the Rush Creek Yacht Club Youth race team on a 24 foot IC24 named "Fun." He spotted the sailor in distress and alerted the rest of the crew. The youth sailors had been trained in "man overboard" rescue. The entire team worked together to rescue the sailor from the water. The victim was described as 'blue' when he was brought aboard. The team then transferred him to a rescue boat that returned him to shore and monitored his recovery.

Mr. Cummings said of his rescuers, "I am impressed by the sailing and seamanship skills that the students had! The "pick-up" was spot on - they made one pass. They could have easily "run" over me but didn't. Despite the fact that I was very tired, and I am not a small person, they were able to pull me up onto the boat."

At the time of the rescue, the crew ranged in age from 13 to 16 years old.

The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded 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. The medal was established in 1990 by friends of the late Mr. Hanson, an ocean-racing sailor from the Chesapeake Bay, with the purpose of recognizing significant accomplishments in seamanship and collecting case studies of rescues for analysis by the Safety at Sea Committee of US Sailing for use in educational and training programs. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal.

Visit the US Sailing Hanson Rescue Medal website for more information about these awards, including nomination form instructions and guidelines.

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