Two Shrewsbury sailors have been praised for their heroic actions after they plucked a fellow competitor from treacherous seas when strong winds wreaked havoc during a popular race.
Adrian Lenc, 45, from Ford, and sailing partner Simon Flack, 36, of Bayston Hill, pulled the struggling man to safety after high waves swept him around 50 metres from his capsized catamaran. The pair were taking part in the five-hour Solent Slog race from Weston Sailing Club in Southampton on June 6.
Despite a good forecast, weather conditions quickly deteriorated with wind playing havoc with their 20-foot catamaran as they headed towards the Isle of Wight. Waves reached peaks of almost two metres, and organisers were finally forced to abandon the race.
As the duo approached the capsized catamaran, they heard a man shouting he had lost his fellow crew member. Adrian spotted him around 50 metres away, struggling amid high waves as conditions became increasingly dangerous.
They turned their boat around and managed to reach the sailor, known as Jim, and after two attempts hauled him onto the craft.
Adrian, who works in Shrewsbury for Land Rover, said: “It was incredibly windy and the conditions had got quite rough and intense. We spotted the guy and it was quite surprising how far away from the boat he’d got in such a small space of time. Obviously the longer we had been, the more difficult it would have been to find him.
“He had drifted away from the boat at quite an alarming rate – he was completely stranded and people were capsizing all over the place, so luckily we managed to get to him pretty quickly.”
The pair finally reached mainland after capsizing themselves, where they were commended for their seamanship by the race committee at Weston Sailing Club.
Simon said: “As a race rule we had an obligation to look out for everybody and you would hope that somebody else would have done the same for you.”
Weston Sailing Club was unavailable to comment when the Chronicle went to press.
By David Seadon