Yachtswoman Debra sails to third place finish in the Arc Royal Ocean Racing Club transatlantic race

PUBLISHED: 09:16 09 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:12 11 May 2010

Debra Noble

Debra Noble

A YACHTSWOMAN from Crow Country survived a dramatic ocean crossing to sail to a third place finish in a transatlantic yacht race. Mother of two Debra Noble, of Hay Street, Steeple Morden, is part of the crew of the 40ft Benetau yacht Lancelot which finish

A YACHTSWOMAN from Crow Country survived a dramatic ocean crossing to sail to a third place finish in a transatlantic yacht race.

Mother of two Debra Noble, of Hay Street, Steeple Morden, is part of the crew of the 40ft Benetau yacht Lancelot which finished third in the annual Arc Royal Ocean Racing Club race from Gran Canaria to the island of St Lucia. The crew completed the 2,700 mile crossing and arrived in the West Indies on Monday night.

The feat is made all the more remarkable because a vital steering cable snapped during the closing stages of the race, meaning the crew had to conduct an impromptu repair in the middle of the night while racing along at high speed without steering.

Debra said: "It was absolutely terrifying but sensational sailing at high speed at night with our huge spinnaker up.

"The only thing we could see were huge waves racing alongside the boat."

Coming from a sailing family, Debra learned to sail on her father, Derek Dewey-Leader's, 36ft Polynesian catamaran. However this was the first transatlantic race she had taken part in, and her sons, Justin and Perry, were able to keep an eye on her progress throughout the race using a computer linked to a tracking device aboard the yacht.

Mr Dewey-Leader, Debra's father, said: "During the trip Deb spotted sperm whales and dolphins and the yacht sailed night and day under spinnaker often reaching speeds of more than 16 knots under strong north-easterly trade winds."

The race, which is known as the Arc, is the biggest trans-ocean race in the world, and the crew of the Lancelot managed to complete the course in 15 days, which is considered a fast crossing.

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