BRISTOL, RI (August 23, 2023) – The US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee will award the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to Andre Patin for saving the life of a fellow competitor during the 2023 Sunfish North American Championship at Island Bay Yacht Club in Springfield, Illinois.
Mr. Patin will be honored with the Hanson Rescue Medal at 6:30 pm, Monday, December 4, 2023 during the Opening Ceremonies of the 52nd International Sunfish Class Association World Championship at Coconut Grove Sailing Club, located at 2990 S Bayshore Drive, Miami, FL 33133. Guillermo Cappelleti, President of the International Sunfish Class Association, and Mr. John Schoendorf, member of US Sailing’s Board of Directors, will make the award.
On the late afternoon of June 11th, 2023, 15-year-old Andre Patin of Forest Hills, New York, a member of the Sayville Yacht Club in Blue Point, New York was competing in the Sunfish North American Championship at Island Bay Yacht Club in Springfield, Illinois.
The fleet was sailing in an 18 miles per hour wind gusting to 29 miles per hour and 68°F water with chop. Andre elected to retire after the 6th race and return to the yacht club. On his way in, he noticed a sailor who had capsized while also sailing to shore. Obviously in trouble, waving his arms, yelling, and becoming increasingly fatigued, Andre sailed towards the sailor and stopped to offer aid. Bob Findlay had been in the water for an undetermined amount of time with injuries to his chest area from struggling to right his boat, and was clinging to the stern at the rudder as the effects of cold-water immersion were setting in. He was unable to self-rescue. In addition, in his unsuccessful efforts to right his boat, he had damaged his life jacket and had concerns as to its continued floatation and usefulness. As Andre worked to assist Mr. Findlay, an event official, Judge John Porter, observed the commotion from the shore. Porter immediately sought additional help, boarded a 26’ club boat and sped towards the pair to offer additional help and a stable platform. Together Andre and John Porter were successful in recovering Mr. Findlay onboard Findlay’s now-righted Sunfish. Andre then sailed Mr. Findlay to shore, and John Porter sailed Andre’s boat in as another official brought in the club boat. Mr. Findlay was treated at the club for mild hypothermia where he changed into dry clothing and later that evening, after fully recovering, attended the awards ceremony.
Andre received the US Sunfish Class Association Peter J. Barnett Sportsmanship Award at the event for his actions. Mr. Findlay was quick to note, “Had it not been for Andre’s unhesitating and quick response, I may have certainly perished.”
For his high degree of situational awareness, outstanding seamanship, unhesitating action resulting in the rescue of a fellow competitor in peril, US Sailing is pleased to award the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to Andre Patin.
The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is awarded to any person who rescues or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other perils at sea within the territorial waters of the United States, or as part of a sailboat race or voyage that originated or stopped in the U.S. The medal was established in 1990 by friends of the late Mr. Hanson, an ocean-racing sailor from the Chesapeake Bay, with the purpose of recognizing significant accomplishments in seamanship and collecting case studies of rescues for analysis by the Safety at Sea Committee of US Sailing for use in educational and training programs. Any individual or organization may submit a nomination for a Hanson Rescue Medal.
Visit the US Sailing Hanson Rescue Medal website for more information about these awards, including nomination form instructions and guidelines.