As anyone with an ounce of sailing experience will tell you, even when it’s relatively calm, the sea can be somewhat dangerous.
The lesson was learned the hard way in 1950 by two women who found themselves the centre of attention when their boat capsized near Bognor Regis Pier.
It was July and the summer season was getting underway when Margaret Nott and Rosemary Downer put out to sea in a 10ft Commando canoe.
Neither of the women were novices on the water and both were members of the Yacht Club.
They had set off to bring in a buoy which was anchored near rocks a few hundred yards from the pier.
The row out was a simple enough affair, although the water became rather rough, but when they reached the buoy, the force of the waves had opened a small hatch on the side of the canoe and it was rapidly flooding.
Maragaret told the Observer’s reporter at the time: “There was nothing to do but get out. We hung on to the canoe, which overturned, and thought that we were drifting towards the pier. If we could have got there we knew that we could have held on.”
They weren’t drifting towards the pier, though, and fellow Yacht Club members Paul Hickman and Kenneth Cox took to the water and fought their way to the women in a rowing dinghy.
The two heroes fished Margaret and Rosemary out of the water and towed their canoe back to shore. The exhausted women were left rather in awe of the large crowd which had gathered to watch the rescue.
The moral of the story? Be careful when chasing buoys or you could wind up all washed up.
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