A Pinsent Masons partner was rescued off the coast off Australia after his yacht sunk while he skippered it through "post-apocalyptic" fire storms.
Rob Buchanan, a construction disputes specialist, was racing his friend's Ker 40 yacht, 'Showtime', around New South Wales' South Coast earlier this month when it flipped in strong winds.
"When we got halfway through the Bass Strait, we hit the smoke cloud", Buchanan told reporters. "It seemed like a post-apocalyptic '80s Mad Max movie. It was dark at 5pm".
After ploughing through a storm stoked by the bushfires, Showtime hit 48 knot winds which snapped off its keel in the middle of the night.
Showtime as it was.
Showtime had fully capsized by 2.30am, leaving Buchanan and his seven crew clinging to the sides in their life jackets. One of them was knocked out. "The boat was trying to kill everybody as it was banging around and we were holding onto it", said Buchanan.
Christian Charalambous, one of the crew members, removed his buoyancy aid and swam under the yacht to retrieve its life raft. Buchanan praised Charalambous as "the bravest person on the boat".
The show must go on. Buchanan and crew in his new, much smaller boat.
A helicopter spotted the sailors in the early hours of Sunday morning and they were picked up at 5.30am. "We were lucky as there were loads of emergency rescue people around because of the fires", said Buchanan.
*Please note ROF is not certain of Tina Turner’s involvement.
Showtime is currently lying on the bottom of the ocean, but Buchanan has not been dissuaded from his passion. "It's a risk you take when you go sailing, just as your car blowing up when you go driving is a risk," he said. The lawyer has a race lined up for February, "provided I can get the annual leave, of course".
"It is still quite surreal thinking about it and I am very relieved we all survived", Buchanon told RollOnFriday. "I think being a dispute lawyer might have helped me make just enough order out of the chaos to get away with it."