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Pub to the rescue

Imagine being alone on your boat on the open ocean with a broken pelvis. Who do you call? The local pub, apparently.

Alan Thompson, 61, was about 600 miles northeast of Bermuda last Saturday, sailing solo across the Atlantic aboard his 37-foot Hunter Legend, Padolu, when he fell on deck and suffered the injury to his pelvis, according to a report in the U.K.-based newspaper The Guardian. In extreme pain, Thompson dialed the Bull’s Head Pub in Fishbourne, West Sussex, and reached his friend Roger Pocock, the pub’s landlord.

Pocock then contacted the Coastguard station in Falmouth, which located the yacht and organized a rescue plan with the U.S. Coast Guard, according to the report. A few hours later the Coast Guard boarded Padolu and assisted Thompson onto a U.S. tanker, leaving his boat behind.

“It was obvious he was in constant pain,” says Pocock in The Guardian. “I don’t know why he didn’t put out an SOS, but maybe he didn’t want to make a big alert.”

Thompson had just purchased Padolu in Florida for $55,000 and was sailing home after failing to find crewmembers, according to the report. Pocock said though he considers his good friend an experienced sailor — Thompson has twice crossed the Atlantic — he urged him to ship the boat to England instead.

Padolu was uninsured, and the Falmouth Coastguard doesn’t think Thompson will see her again, though they say there is a possibility she could drift to the British Isles.

— Elizabeth Ellis