The skipper and crew of the Melbourne-based Elan Impression 434, Try.booking.com who risked their lives to rescue six survivors from a sunken competitor during the Melbourne to Port Fairy Race in April this year have been awarded the Australian Search and Rescue Award for 2012.
It was owner Grant Dunoon’s second ocean race and they were making excellent way when everything changed. Dunoon and his crew, Peter Fetch, Ross Fischer and Kim Walker battled huge swells and wind gusts of up to 70 knots for many hours in the middle of the night eventually pulling the six sailors to safety, undoubtedly saving their lives. Years of training as an airline pilot saw the skipper sail his boat in a strategic grid pattern in the high seas until they located the men in the water.
“We were focused on getting to them, we had tunnel vision; ultimately, we had six guys in the water who were going to perish if we didn’t get to them, there was no choice,” Dunoon reported. “You can imagine being on top of a 10 metre wave looking down on these guys at the bottom. We thought the boat was going to go right over the top of them. “
The full gripping account of the night rescue narrated by Grant Dunoon has been extremely well documented and is a truly compelling read. Go to, http://www.elanyachts.com.au/?p=2518, , download the ‘Elan 434 Try.Booking Rescue.’
Now on the sunnier sailing side of things, Dunoon and his trusted boat,Try.booking.com and crew report they have just sailed across the Strait and taken out 1st place (PHS) on handicap in the recent Melbourne to Stanley race early November.
“Weather this time around was absolutely gorgeous (finally)”, he said, happy to share his short video showing the boat in its full glory: http://elan434.wordpress.com/