LeBon to Race ‘Drum’ again

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Yacht Crew Reunited To Enter
Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race For 20thAnniversay

SIMON LE BON the lead singer of pop legends DURAN DURAN today (Monday 16th May) announced his plans at a press launch in Glasgow, to race the super yacht DRUM again this Summer by entering the world famous Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race on the 7th August 2005.

Le Bon who escaped death after his yacht Drum capsized in bad weather off the coast of Falmouth whilst competing in the 1985 Fastnet Race, will be reunited for the first time with the original crew members. The reunion will mark the crew’s 20th anniversary of Drum’s last attempt at the 1985 race.

The yacht now renamed “ARNOLD CLARK DRUM” is owned by leading Scottish entrepreneur and businessman Sir Arnold Clark. Sir Arnold , kindly agreed to loan the yacht to Le Bon and his crew and become the primary sponsor when he heard about their plans for Drum to race again and to raise awareness of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Sir Arnold Clark is the Chairman & Chief Executive of the Arnold Clark motoring group and has guided the company to its current status as the largest independent motoring group in the UK and one of the largest automotive companies in Europe.

The biennial Rolex Fastnet Race is considered to be one of the world's classic ocean races, the 608-mile course is a test for skippers and crews with its tricky tidal currents and changeable weather conditions. The race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, with the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Western Yacht Club, Plymouth will start on Sunday 7th August 2005, off Cowes, Isle of Wight. The Royal Ocean Racing Club's classic event will attract in the region of 250 yachts this year.

The “ARNOLD CLARK DRUM” crew includes all but one of the surviving members. Joining Simon Le Bon are; Skip Novak, John Fitzgerald, Phil Wade, John Irving, Paul Berrow, Mike Berrow, Terry Gould, Rick Tomlinson, Chris Baker, Max Bourgeois, Roger Nilson, Phil Holland, Neil Cheston, Bruno Peyron, Pascal Pellet Finet, Chas From Tas, Trevor Dowe, Phil Barret, Johnny Le Bon, Johnson Woodison, Malcolm McKeag, John Toon, Micke Olsen and Magnus Olson

Sir Arnold Clark of the Arnold Clark Organisation commented; “When I heard about Simon’s plans to race the yacht again with the original crew and to raise awareness of the R.N.L.I, I was absolutely delighted to offer my help and assistance. Since I acquired Drum, the yacht has become one of my biggest passions in life. Normally it’s the keys to cars that I’m used to handing over to customers, not the keys to my yacht! It will be a proud moment to see her entering the race again in August. We wish Simon and the rest of the crew, the very best and look forward to seeing Drum at the finishing line”

Jacaranda Films has the exclusive rights to film on board “ARNOLD CLARK DRUM” in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. Two camera crews, using the latest light weight cameras with night vision, will film 24 hours a day during the race. A helicopter and a rib will cover the start of the race. A further rib will meet the yacht as she rounds the Fastnet Lighthouse. Her return to Plymouth will also be covered by air and sea positions. The footage from on board the yacht, plus interviews with the crew and archive material from 1985 will be used to make a one hour documentary about the yacht and her crew finishing the Rolex Fastnet Race they started 20 years ago.

Simon Le Bon has taken time out of his busy touring schedule with DURAN DURAN to enter the race in August. The band who reformed in 2001 have enjoyed a hugely successful comeback since the original five members of Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor were reunited. Together they have performed to in excess of 1.5 million fans across the globe enjoying sell out arena and stadium concerts across the UK, US, Japan and Australia. Their new album “Astronaut” which rocketed into the UK charts at #3 also achieved critical acclaim along with the singles “Sunrise” and What Happens Tomorrow”.

Duran Duran have just completed a 44 date US arena tour performing to 450,000 fans and will later this month perform their only UK stadium show at Birmingham City Football club on the 28th May for 28,000 fans before continuing with their European Tour. Duran Duran’s career has spanned 26 years and achieved 70 million record sales and countless hit records. The band has also been honoured with no less than three prestigious “Lifetime Achievement” awards from the MTV Video Music Awards, Q Magazine and the BRITS since they reformed in 2001.

Commenting on the forthcoming Rolex Fastnet race and being reunited with the yacht, Simon Le Bon said; “I am thrilled that we are able to race Drum again and for Sir Arnold Clark’s generosity in loaning the yacht for the race. It will be a very special moment being back on board with the original crew members, we went through a great deal together in 1985 let's hope that this time we finish the race. Something else that motivates us to do this, is to raise awareness of the valuable work of the RNLI and the search & rescue teams who we all owe a great debt of gratitude to. We felt it was very important to highlight the tireless work of the RNLI and its dedicated team of volunteers.”

Sunday 7th August - Friday 12th August

Birmingham City Football Club, St Andrews Stadium, Birmingham, Saturday 28th May 2005

…That Fateful Day Twenty Years Ago!

Simon Le Bon, along with Paul and Mike Berrow commissioned Skip Novak to build the super yacht Drum (Maxis Class) with the purpose of taking part in the 1985 Whitbread Round The World Race.

August 10th 1985 was the start of the 608 mile Fastnet Race from Cowes to the south coast of Ireland with a crew of twenty four. Drum was to enter this race in preparation for the Whitbread Round The World Race.

Around six hours into the Fastnet, a shaft bearing had dropped free leaving the entire steering system of the yacht unsupported, this took nearly three hours to fix. The crew had no idea just how fortuitous this interruption would later become in saving their lives.

After rounding Dodman Point with appalling weather conditions there were twelve crew below deck. Six of the crew were about to come on deck and the other six crew were in their bunks asleep, suddenly there was a loud bang, followed by another and the boat fell over hanging at a ninety degree angle before turning upside down and capsizing. The 34,000 lbs of lead keel had fallen off and with the boat upside down, the mast now acted as the keel. The head count was eighteen on the upturned hull and in the water, with the remaining six crew members trapped inside a small air pocket.

The yacht Carat, who were behind Drum, diverted to investigate and notified the Whitbread Committee over their radio system stating that they thought Drum had lost their rigging because it had disappeared off the horizon. The crew of Carat wanted time dispensation to investigate further.

A retired coastguardsman, walking on the cliffs near Falmouth, saw Drum capsize and alerted the Royal Naval Station at Culdrose who scrambled their SAR (search and rescue) helicopter and within minutes was hovering over the upturned yacht. The Falmouth RNLI Lifeboat was also launched in a joint rescue, co-ordinated by HM Coastguard.

The hero of the dangerous rescue was petty officer Larry Slater, a trained diver, he was winched into the water from the helicopter and working with Drum crew member Terry Gould was guided below the hull to reach the trapped crew. Slater located the crew and guided them through the yacht’s hatch one at a time to safety.

The crew were winched onto the helicopter and air lifted to a field near to Portscatho to a waiting Land Rover which would ferry them to a small hotel near Gerrans. Skip Novak and Pascal Pellet Finet were the first to be dropped in the field, after jumping from the helicopter Pascal and Novak fell to their knees and both agreed that “never had cow dung looked so beautiful!" The Falmouth RNLI lifeboat transferred the remaining Drum crew from the upturned hull onto the RNLI weather lifeboat and then took them back to Falmouth

Pascal Pellet Finet was the worst injured, being trapped by falling sails below deck and with the water rising a foot every few minutes he was directly under the upturned batteries which were leaking acid and running over his face and mixing with the water to give off toxic fumes.

Had the crew not taken in the sails to make the repair on the steering system, the crew of Drum would have been in very real danger as they rounded Lands End. At this point with no visual sight of the yacht from land and no subsequent rescue call, they would have been stranded and trapped spending the night in the English Channel.

The storm struck the 236-strong fleet who entered the race and weather experts said it had produced conditions in the English Channel almost as bad as in the 1979 Fastnet Race when 15 people died. With plummeting water temperatures, no protection for those on deck and water rising around those below, it might well have been a very different story for the crew that survived Drum.

Leading Scottish businessman and entrepreneur Sir Arnold Clark, the current owner of Drum, has kindly lent the yacht to the crew to take part in the Rolex Fastnet Race and at the same time to help support the worthy cause of the RNLI.

"Thank you very much for saving our lives" somehow feels inadequate for the crew of Drum to say to the men who saved all twenty four lives. It is for this reason why they decided to reform on their twentieth anniversary to once again race the yacht that so nearly cost them their lives. At the same time the crew of Drum wanted to heighten awareness of the valuable work of the RNLI and its dedicated team of search and rescue volunteers and to finish the race they started 20 years ago.

Sunday 7th August - Friday 12th August

The Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race

The biennial Rolex Fastnet Race is considered one of the world's classic ocean races, the 608-mile course a test for skippers and crews with its tricky tidal currents and changeable weather conditions. The race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, with the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Western Yacht Club, Plymouth will start on Sunday 7th August, off Cowes, Isle of Wight. The Royal Ocean Racing Club's classic event will attract in the region of 250 yachts in 2005. The course will take the large fleet South West down the Solent, past the Needles and out into the English Channel. The headlands along the South Coast of England - Anvil Point, Portland Bill, Start Point, The Lizard, Lands End - must each be weathered on the way to open ocean and the leg North West to the Fastnet Rock with its mythical lighthouse. The return leg to Plymouth, via Bishop Rock Lighthouse on the South side of the Scilly Isles, is just as demanding, as fatigue and competition take their toll. Like no other race the Rolex Fastnet Race attracts every type of sailor and boat from just about every sailing country in the world. Sailing schools, corporate institutions, family owned and crewed cruiser-racers, dedicated amateurs, club sailors along with the hardened champions from the Grand Prix circuits, are all attracted to compete in the best known offshore race in the world. All come to enjoy the challenge of one of the trickiest and most demanding sporting events that an individual or a team can aspire to today.

Arnold Clark Organisation

The company was founded by Sir Arnold Clark over 50 years ago when he opened his first showroom in the West End of Glasgow, Scotland in 1954. As Chairman & Chief Executive of the group, Sir Arnold has guided the company to it current status as the largest independent Motoring Group in the UK and one of the largest automotive companies in Europe. Sir Arnold Clark was awarded his knighthood in the 2004 New Year Honours List for ‘Services To The Motor Industry & The Scottish Community’. The knighthood was received from Her Majesty The Queen in June of last year. The Arnold Clark Organisation (ACO) currently has in excess of 130 motor car dealerships in the UK and its core business is in vehicle sales, both new and used, vehicle repairs and servicing, automotive parts, rental and contract hire. The company also has its own car, travel and home insurance division. ACO currently employs over 7,000 staff and in 2004 had a turnover of £1.6 Billion. The company remains a private limited company and its head office is located in Glasgow, Scotland.

Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI)

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a registered charity that saves lives at sea. It provides, on call, the 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service to 50 miles out from the coast of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and a beach lifeguard service on 57 beaches in the south west of England. The RNLI continues to rely on voluntary contributions and legacies for its income. There are 232 lifeboat stations strategically placed around the UK and Republic of Ireland with 331 lifeboats in active service. In 2003 the RNLI made 8.109 launches, saved 344 lives and bought 6.077 people ashore with its rescue service. Since its inception in 1824, the RNLI has saved over 136,000 lives. The RNLI has 4,600 volunteer crew members and 300 of those are women.