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Capsize of Drum

Singer Simon Le Bon and his rescuer Navy diver Larry Slater are interviewed in Falmouth after the capsizing of the yacht Drum.

News 1985 6 mins

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Pop star Simon Le Bon has a lucky escape after the yacht in which he was competing in the Fastnet Race capsized in the English Channel off Falmouth. Le Bon and twenty-three crew were rescued after the keel of the ocean racing yacht Drum sheared off on the return leg of the six hundred and five mile race. He and five crew were trapped in an air pocket of the upturned hull. The yacht was co-owned by the lead singer Le Bon and the managers of the group Duran Duran, Mike and Paul Berrow.

The Royal Navy Search and Rescue diver from 771 Naval Air Squadron RNAS Culdrose Petty Officer Larry Slater led each trapped crewman including Le Bon to safety. Larry was awarded the George Medal and appeared on reality TV show This Is Your Life in April 1986. Le Bon, Drum and crew went on to come third in the Whitbread Round the World Challenge just five weeks later. Le Bon competed in the 2005 Fastnet nearly twenty years after the first attempt failed. He borrowed Drum to do so. Duran Duran's 1982 video to the single Rio featured the group in fair weather yacht scenes filmed over three days in English Bay off the coast of Antigua in the Caribbean. Who could have predicted then such stormy waters ahead?