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It's plain sailing for skipper Le Bon

DURAN Duran frontman Simon Le Bon and his racing crew yesterday celebrated sailing past the point in a classic yacht race that almost cost them their lives 20 years ago.

The 1980s pop star was reunited at Cowes, Isle of Wight, with 20 members of his original crew which competed in the Fastnet Race in 1985. His yacht, Drum, capsized in bad weather off the coast of Falmouth, trapping the singer and crew members inside the hull for 40 minutes.

Afterwards Le Bon sold the yacht, now called The Arnold Clark Drum, but it is being loaned back to him this year by its owner, the Scottish entrepreneur, Sir Arnold Clark.

The crew opened the champagne as they sailed past the point that almost took their lives. Crew member Phil Wade said the 1985 experience and yesterday's sailing were "chalk and cheese".

Le Bon said earlier: "I'm not afraid but I do think when we pass the point where the keel fell off we will feel a bump inside us and feel vindicated about doing the whole thing again.

"Taking part again is nothing as clichd as unfinished business, it's more about getting an old bunch of friends together who haven't seen each other for a long time.

"For us, that race and accident is one of the most important things to happen to us in our whole lives."

A Fastnet spokesman said that The Arnold Clark Drum passed Land's End at 3pm.

Le Bon is hoping to raise awareness and funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by participating.

The Arnold Clark organisation will be donating a car to the RNLI as part of its charity fund-raising initiative.

A total of 285 yachts set off on Sunday. The winner is expected to complete the 608-mile course in between four and six days' time.

 
 
 

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