How yachting turned the life of Duran Duran leader Simon Le Bon upside down
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How yachting turned the life of Duran Duran leader Simon Le Bon upside down

The legendary musician survived a shipwreck but returned to yachting.
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If it wasn't for Grandma, Duran Duran vocalist Simon Le Bon. (Simon Le Bon) would never love the sea.


Simon grew up in Pinner, a town in north-west London. In 1965 his grandmother moved to the south coast of England, and that changed everything. The future singer was only six years old and the house at the port of Pul Harbour had a young imagination: there were many yacht clubs and the population consisted of sailors of all ages.

«For ten years in a row, every summer, every Easter and vacation, every weekend from May to October, I visited my grandmother with my whole family. I know Pool Harbor»very well," Le Bon said.

There he met a local priest who had a small wooden sailing boat. He often took it on small journeys and gave the future star the first lessons of sailboat management. At the age of 14, Le Bon joined a sailing club, but he became fond of music and yachting gradually fell into the background.

At the height of his career the musician returned to his passion for sailing. The famous Rio video was decided to be filmed in Antigua. Simon felt at home sitting on the stem of Eilean's wooden ketch.

Three years later, Simon was back at the helm, but this time the hobby almost cost him his life.

Le Bon took part in the «Fastnet sailing regatta on August» 11, 1985. However, it was not possible to overcome the whole 948 km route - the 23-meter maxi yacht Drum broke off the keel and she flipped over. The crew were trapped in a small air sac.


The nearest boat immediately sounded the alarm, but the boat crew had to wait about 40 minutes before they were rescued. The hero was the diver of the Royal Naval Squadron, who had to dive under the yacht several times.

«It was very scary»," said Le Bon, who was asleep at the time of the crash.

«You know that after a rescue»," he added in an interview with CNN Online in October, describing how the disaster affected him.

And although the singer agreed to participate in the 1985/86 Whitbread round-the-world regatta, he had his doubts. Then he got a call from his American captain Skip Novak, who said that the organizers of Round the World were ready to postpone the race for a month until Drum was cleaned up.

«I said: "Skip, I don't think I can pull. It was awful, and I still haven't left." He said to me, "Simon, England is counting on you!"»

Le Bon had to agree, and Drum came in third.

He's 60 now, and not long ago Le Bon and his wife got grandchildren. Simon is increasingly thinking about the ecology of the oceans, which confirms his status as an ambassador for the Blue Marine Foundation, a non-governmental organization that seeks to stop the fishing and biodiversity decline.

«More fish, less plastic»," says Le Bon.

He may no longer take part in the round-the-world regattas, but the ocean is still very important to him.

«I have a wooden motorboat. It stands in Italy and I go back to it from time to time," admitted Le Bon. - I still go sailing.»
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