Simon Le Bon is planning a comeback aboard Drum during this year's Fastnet. An exclusive yachtingworld.com news story by David Glenn
One of the most disturbing images in yacht racing was seeing the IOR maxi Drum, Simon le Bon’s 1985/86 Whitbread hopeful, upside down off south west England after her keel fell off in the opening stages of the 1985 Fastnet Race. It didn’t bode well for her global ambitions for the Whitbread about to start that September. Her repaired keel survived the circumnavigation, but hull delamination dogged her throughout an eventful race.
“We’re keen to complete the race we never finished,” said Phil Wade, one of the 26 crew aboard during the ’85 capsize, who is trying to organise a reunion to mark the 20th anniversary of the accident by entering this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race in August and this time completing the course.
Phil, now skipper of superyacht Timoneer, says Sir Arnold Clark who owns Drum which is based in Scotland, will make the yacht available and Simon le Bon has made space in his revived musical career to take part in the race.
All bar one of the 24 crew are alive. Skip Novak skippered Drum in the Fastnet and others on board included Phil Holland (Ron’s brother), John Irving the UK Nautor agent, then journalist Malcolm McKeag, Johnson ‘Woodie’ Wooderson and Hood France sailmaker Pascal Pinet-Fillet who only just made it out of the upturned hull when he was overcome by chlorine gas when battery acid leaked .
Ironically, despite the tens of thousands of miles the likes of Novak, Wade and indeed Le Bon have notched up over the years, none currently qualifies for Fastnet participation. At least 50 per cent of the crew need to have competed in a certain number of Royal Ocean Racing Club events in the 12 months prior to the Fastnet.
Phil Wade also reports that Drum needs a bit of work before she goes to sea (no doubt the keel attachment will be checked out too) and that they are intending to raise money for charity, appropriately the RNLI.