US Sailing, the national governing body for sail racing, has awarded a Hanson Rescue Medal to David Butler of Dallas, Texas; and his crew, Debbie Adams and John Finks, for rescuing a competitor from the water during a sailboat race on Lake Lewisville near Dallas on Nov. 21, 2010.
While sailing downwind under spinnaker in a strong breeze over 20 knots during a race sponsored by the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club, Blue Monk, a Merit 25-foot sloop, accidently gybed.
The maneuver was so violent that a crew member leaning on the boom, Adrian Rodriguez, was thrown overboard, well away from the boat and into the water. Rodriguez was wearing thick clothes with no life jacket.
On board a nearby competing boat, Shotglass, a 26-foot J-80, crewmember John Finks observed the incident. Finks alerted his skipper, David Butler, and served as spotter so the victim was not lost in the two- to three-foot waves. Butler immediately altered course toward the victim and instructed his crew to take in the spinnaker.
“We were close to the man overboard and knew it was our responsibility and the only thing to do,” said Butler.