A LIFEBOAT volunteer was awarded a silver medal for gallantry for rescuing novice sailors on a Southampton boat caught in force ten weather conditions, a court heard.

Southampton Crown Court heard that Garry Clark leapt from the Dungeness lifeboat in order to rescue seven crew members on board the Liquid Vortex which had sailed into 15mile per hour winds in the early hours of January 3.

The lifeboat had been dispatched after a distress signal had been made to the boat, owned by Hot Liquid Sailing Ltd.

Speaking to the court Trevor Bunney mechanic and second deputy coxswain on board the Dungeness said: “The yachtsman managed to get closer for a split second, Garry leapt on board the boat, a split second later the vessels were 29 ft apart.”

The court has previously heard how the crew had set sail the previous despite adverse weather forecasts and that the crew had been forced to sail through the night.

The skipper Charles Sturrock, 50, from Shropshire, and company director Jason Manning, 36, of Pluto Road, Eastleigh, both deny a total of seven charges relating to breaches of safety under the merchant shipping act.

The trail continues.