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Drum was a yacht owned in the mid-1980s by Simon Le Bon and Paul and Michael Berrow, who commissioned yachtsman Skip Novak to build with the purpose of taking part in the 1985 Whitbread Round the World Race. As a warm up to the Whitbread they entered the Fastnet race for crew training and to test the boat and equipment. August 10th 1985 was the start of the 608 miles Fastnet Race from Cowes, Isle of Wight, around the Fastnet Rock on the south coast of Ireland and back to Plymouth, with 24 crew on board.

(Footnote: The yacht was not in fact commissioned by Le Bon - it was originally built for Rob James the husband of famous round the world sailor Naiomi James. The boat was to be called Colt Cars. Rob James tragically died in a yachting accident off Salcombe in Devon before the yacht was completed. The yacht was then purchased at this time by Le Bon and the Berrow bros - but there was a good deal of uncertainty about build as the boat was moved to different shipyards. In that process it was subsequently found that the keel was never correctly attached - this is why the keel failed in the Fastnet Race in 1985. It was unfortunate that the build process was interrupted by the untimely death of the original owner leading to deficiencies in the original build program.)

During the 1985 Fastnet race off the coast of England, the experimental keel broke off, causing the yacht to capsize. Le Bon and several other crew members were trapped under the hull for forty minutes, before being rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The search and rescue diver was Petty Officer Air Crewman (POACMN) Larry "Scouse" Slater of 771 Naval Air Squadron who later appeared as guest of honor on This Is Your Life on 9 April 1986, with Simon Le Bon making an appearance at the end of the programme.

The boat was salvaged and refurbished (at an estimated cost of 400,000 pounds) just in time to take part in the trio's biggest yachting ambition: the 1985-86 Whitbread Round the World Race. This months-long trek took them around the globe, through high seas, hot sun, icy storms, and days of becalmed boredom.

The documentary film Drum - The Journey Of A Lifetime is about the yacht and crew during the Whitbread race. Le Bon wrote and performed the song "Grey Lady Of The Sea" for the film's soundtrack; it was his first solo musical venture.

The yacht took part in Cowes Week and a few other small races while owned by Le Bon and the Berrows.

Drum was later sold to Scottish businessman Sir Arnold Clark, who renamed her the Arnold Clark Drum. He races her, maintains her, and invites local children for visits and outings on the yacht. Clark says that she has become one of his biggest passions in life.

In August 2005 most of the original 1985 crew reunited for the 20th anniversary of the race, which was the idea of Simon Le Bon who took time out from Duran Duran's Astronaut Tour. They had a special dinner and borrowed the yacht from Clark to race in the Fastnet once more, this time to raise awareness of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution that had helped them so many years before. Unfortunately the 2005 race was deviled by very light winds, slowing the field's approach to the finish line, and Le Bon had to be airlifted off the yacht in order to continue the band's tour.

1985 crew members[]

  • Skip Novak
  • Simon Le Bon*
  • Paul Berrow
  • Mike Berrow
  • Phil Wade
  • John Irving
  • Terry Gould
  • Rick Tomlinson
  • Chris Barker
  • Max Bourgeois
  • Roger Nilson
  • Phil Holland
  • Neil Cheston
  • Bruno Peyron
  • Pascal Pellat-Finet
  • Chas from Tas
  • Trevor Dowe
  • Johnny Le Bon
  • Johnson Wooderson
  • Malcolm McKeag
  • John Toon
  • Micke Olsen
  • Magnus Olson
  • Janne Gustaffson

External links[]