Hero yachtsman joins ocean racing elite

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The solo yachtsman Pete Goss, who gave up his own chance of sporting victory to save another sailor's life was awarded a special trophy for his achievements yesterday.

Goss, 35, was honoured with the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship for rescuing Frenchman Raphael Dinelli in mountainous seas in the Southern Ocean in December during the Vendee Globe round-the- world race. Only six other people have been given the honour since it was set up in 1981.

He received the award in London from Terry Robinson, the racing club's commandant, who praised Goss's "courageous determination" in the face of a terrifying situation.

The actress Joanna Lumley presented him with a bouquet bearing the message: "Flowers for a hero, love and congratulations."

The Cornishmen is also to receive France's most celebrated award for bravery, the Legion d'Honneur,

Goss, a former Royal Marine who is married with three children, went on to finish the race in a new British record of 140 days despite the detour which cost him his chance of winning the 24,000-mile race. He said the award was "particularly special because it comes from people who know exactly what I have been through".

He said he had been amazed since his return by the number of people who had asked whether he regretted his actions. "It's a question that never even crossed my mind. Sailors live by unstated rules which they learn very early on. When you talk about the life of a sailor at stake, everything else is forgotten."