Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal Awarded
Competing for an international sailing championship title is quite a prestigious feat, particularly if it's the US SAILING Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship, the largest women 's keelboat championship in the world.
But the crew of Peter Pirate (Norfolk, Va.) didn't let a potential victory get in the way of rescuing a fellow competitor out of cold and choppy waters. For making an extraordinary rescue, the Peter Pirate team of skipper Corrie Clement and crew Ali SHARPE, Anna TUNNICLIFFE, and Nataleigh VANN have been awarded US SAILING's Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal.
The incident occurred in the midst of intense competition at the 2003 US SAILING Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship, held in October in Annapolis, Md. The weather was particularly rough on the fourth day of racing with 30 knots of wind and cool 55-degree air. The J/22 Gorilla Girls, skippered by Terry SCHERTZ (Conifer, CO), was going downwind in fourth place to the finish line when a surprising gust broached the boat, dumping the three crew members overboard and pinning the skipper on the low side.
Peter Pirate was following closely and observed one of the Gorilla Girls crew in the water, wearing an inflatable personal floating device. The strong winds made it difficult for the Peter Pirate team to stop the light boat long enough to pull the victim aboard. But after several attempts, they finally were able to physically lift the victim out of the water. The victim had been in the water for more than five minutes, becoming dangerously close to suffering from hypothermia. The three remaining members of Gorilla Girls were ultimately rescued by nearby official event boats.
Peter Pirate continued to finish the race and successfully filed for redress to recover finish points lost during the rescue. For unselfishly rescuing a fellow competitor, the crew of Peter Pirate was presented with US SAILING's Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal during an athletics awards banquet at Old Dominion University on April 27, 2004. The presentation was made by US SAILING Board of Directors member Mitch BRINDLEY(Smithfield, VA).