Well, of course, I have heard that you should never believe what you read in the press, but now I have experienced it for the first time.
After a good day of windsurfing I was about to pack away and noticed John Dixon and a few others looking through binoculars in a worried way. Welsh Alan was out in rough and windy weather and they were very concerned, to the point where John decided to go and get his boat (on his pitch) to rescue him. Alan wasn’t making any attempt to try and sail; he was about a mile and a half out with an off-shore wind, about force 6 and rising. It was going to take a while for John to get his boat onto the water, never mind go to his rescue so I told the other I would sail out to him, make sure he was alright and let him know that John was on his way.
It was a difficult sail, my sail was too big by now and I needed to sail directly to him (on a run) or there was a chance I would loose where he was. When I got there, poor old Alan was sat on his board in a very sorry way. Completely exhausted, and as we were to find out later, suffering from hypothermia. I sat with him and tried to reassure him that John would be on his way and that it would all be OK. The problem was that it was going to take a long time and the wind and waves were increasing all the time. From where we were, we could see what was going on on the beach, but by all accounts they were watching through the binoculars and trying to give John directions using mobile phones. It wasn’t working very well, and, I don’t think the people on the beach realised how difficult it was to see. We eventually caught sight of John, but unfortunately, he could see us. No amount of shouting and waving was able to attract his attention. We watched as John made a rigorous and thorough search, but unfortunately of the wrong area. After John passed us for the third time I decided to sail after him. I had been reluctant to leave Alan on his own in such a state but decided the best thing was to go after John. I was able to let him know where he was and make sure they were going to be able to get back safely. Now I had to sail back myself. It was an interesting ride in strong off-shore wind and big waves. It took a few tacks but I got back to the growing group of concerned on-lookers. Not long after John brought Alan and his kit back safely. By now the Police, Ambulance and a doctor had arrived. Alan refused to go to hospital but the doctor did check him over and gave him advice about his hypothermia. A few days later a friend brought me the paper clipping from the local English press. I’ve no idea where the got the story from, and they seem to have made up most of the facts.
A few days later, Barbara, Alans wife came round to thank me and brought me a large box of Roses chocolates.