Pilots Survive Horrible Nor-Tech 427 Accident

Anyone who’s into power boating especially in Europe, knows Patrick Huybreghts aka Pat. He’s a die-hard power boater but most of all he’s an optimist by default. He owns 2 Nor-Techs: 38 ft from 1997 and 39 ft from 2008. Both powerboats being used till today for incentives, even the 38 ft raced in 2009 under the name “Spirit of Belgium”.
That was also the reason why Patrick preferred the brand Nor-Tech to build him a new Race Boat for the 2010 Offshore world championship series. Last week I had the chance to interview him about the Nor-tech 427 accident.

Powerboating.be was his channel of choice.

2010 Yalta, Ukraine

The Nor-Tech 427 of Patrick Huybreghts with Shelley Jory Leigh as pilot (c) medianaut - Karel Overlaet

2010 Ukraine: powerpole 2nd, race 2nd. 2010 Malta: powerpole pole position, race 2nd. 2010 Sardinia: no result, powerboat disbanded in practice

Quite a team looking good on shore and suburd racing ... we heard (c) medianaut - Karel Overlaet

Boat history of Patrick started in 1993 with the purchase of a 21 ft. well craft Scarab, continuing with a dealer ship of Sonic USA powerboats rigged with Yanmar’s followed by an Intrepid 34 Ft. also with twin Yanmar’s.

After those boats he fell in love with the Nor-Tech 38 Ft. Superfast who drove in 1997 in the APBA series to the title. That boat he was able to purchase in 1999.

Successfully doing PowerBoat experiences & incentives with his Nor-Tech’s (more than 1650 hours) for major brands as Q8 and Samsung, Patrick raced in 2009 with his old Nor-Tech (1997) in the SuperSport Series of the World Championship, several podium places and a 4th place by the end of the year was “Spirit of Belgium’s” result . Considering that in the last heat of that year they faced an engine problem, so they missed the 3th place overall with a few points.

Being taken again by the race virus (Patrick did participate in 9 Paris Dakar raid’s in Africa with Trucks and Cars, car & bike racing in the European circuit for many years).

He found the budget to invest in a brand New Nor -Tech for the 2010 season coupled with UK power boat champion Shelley Jory-Leigh as pilot.

Of to the fatal race ... (c) medianaut Karel Overlaet

Season 2010 opened in Ukraine, followed by a race in Malta, “Spirit of Belgium” was at that time in 2nd place in the championship with just a few points behind the leading boat . The 3th venue Sardinia would be the nearly fatal one.

Suddenly … without any warning …

Both pilots were violently shmashed onto the dashboard ...
…. both Shelley and Pat got smacked against the dashboard, the bow aborted from the boat and with the nearly max speed of the boat.
Maximum speed of SuperSport Class was 90 mph in 2010.

Patrick gets hit on the head by the bow that had broken off

in the same moment hitting the water again with the second closed compartment they came to an stop in less than a second, in that fraction the second compartment broke off and flow away hitting Patrick on the head knocking him unconscious. Luckily Shelley kept her cool and took command to save Patrick’s life, doing the radio for help and yelling at Patrick to keep him on this world. She did more than a brave job, considering that she was also seriously injured.

The only thing Patrick remembered of the accident was that they took a jump on a wave like they did already innumerable times, throttling off on the jump he saw the deck peeling and there his recap stops.

Shelley taking care of Patrick, calling on the radio for help meanwhile yelling to keep me alive. Quite an extraordinary girl.

Seconds from sinking

Amazingly Shelley Jory-Leigh and Pat got out of this accident alive. After 3 months of struggle Pat finally recovered the boat from the Italian Sea to investigate what really happened that particular day.

Pat NorTech 427 also usable as submarine. Tested for 3 months at 256 ft.

Today, after several thoughts regarding the accident Pat still is not 100% sure what caused this horrible crash. Could it be a human fault while constructing this powerboat or could it be a pilot/throttle error? Maybe the readers of this article, some might have experience in racing or high performance boating, can come up with an opinion looking at these photos.

Only 17 hours on the hull

The missing bow ...

The bow from another angle

All parts and pieces of the hull were recovered. Only part of the deck is missing.

Already 5 years Pat is investigating. Screws ... is this normal ...

Pat did not find answers. Anny suggestions?

Thanks for bidding on the hull

Normally Pat would keep the powerboat in his possession but in December 2014 he fell of a ladder shattering both his hands, completely ruining his hip and feet. So it’s a long way for him to go. That’s why he has put this boat on the market to obtain some funds to survive this period in his life. 15% of the amount will go to the Bergamo Scuba Angels for the great rescue job they did for both pilots that fateful day. They will invest it in safety equipment to safeguard others in the future.

I would like to stress out that Shelley and Pat are still the best of friends.

Also he wishes to think the Bergam Scuba angels for their very professional help. Visit their page at www.bergamoscuba.com.

Pat regrets not being able to join the 2015 Abu Dhabi event due to several surgical procedures and rehabilitations in hospital. He will show and comment the movie of the Nor-Tech 427 Accident during the first 2016 race. This is an absolute unique and impressive document in which you can also admire the professional actions of the Rescue Team Bergamo Scuba Angels.

Pat asked me explicitly to pop your thoughts or questions about this accident by emailing him and not to do this via commenting below. You can reach him at  p1supersport17@gmail.com.

Powerboating.be wishes to thank Pat Huybreghts for his willingness to testify on this Nor-Tech 427 accident and we keep our thumbs up for a good recovery in the months to come. We sure would love to see him in a powerboat again. Also a big hug from us for Shelley Jory-Leigh who kept her calm by sending out the Mayday call and for her extraordinary assistance during the first rescue minutes which were so immensely important. We love you, Shelley!

And speaking of Shelley at Conniston in November 2015 she smashed the national record in her class going 114,67 mph which is 183,47 kmh. Congratulations on behalve of powerboating.be.

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2 Thoughts to “Pilots Survive Horrible Nor-Tech 427 Accident”

  1. everett cox

    So how are Pat and Shelley? Has there been a determination why the boat delamed? Have there been lawsuits filed against Nor-Tech? A brand new boat unbelievable!! What’s more unbelievable is I have never heard of a Nor-Tech hull delaminating. Was this a “trip and stuff” accident?

    1. karel

      Shelley and Pat are fine. I’ll get Pat to answer your questions.

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