Friend confident 'mentally strong' sailor will cope

Captured Irish sailor David Bloomer is mentally strong and will be helping his fellow yachtsmen during their ordeal in Iran, a friend said today.

Graham Smith, who sailed regularly with Mr Bloomer in Ireland before he emigrated to Bahrain in the 1980s, said everybody who knew him is worried.

But he believes the radio presenter, in his early 60s, is physically and mentally fit enough to get through what he branded a strange scenario.

“I have absolutely no qualms that he will be extremely well able to cope with a situation like that,” he said.

“He’s a good communicator – he works as a DJ and radio presenter on Radio Bahrain, and has been around various parts of the world covering various events, sporting events particularly, on their behalf over the years.

“In terms of being able to communicate and talk I see no difficulty with him whatsoever, and I would take him to be a mentally tough guy.”

Mr Bloomer has dual Irish and British citizenship and was a sales manager for IBM before leaving Ireland more than 25 years ago.

He is married with no children and has a brother Ian, who lives in south Dublin and who refused to comment on efforts to release the five sailors who were onboard The Kingdom Of Bahrain racing yacht when it was stopped by the Iranian navy last Wednesday.

“I’d rather not discuss it at this moment in time,” he said.

“Any information can be got from the British Home Office, they’re dealing with the matter at the moment and that’s the way I’d prefer to leave it at the moment.”

Mr Smith, a public relations consultant from Malahide, north Dublin, said Mr Bloomer is extremely active for his age and was always looking for new challenges.

The pair used to sail on his father’s boat and went on a sailing holiday together in Corfu.

Although well-experienced, he said Mr Bloomer really just dabbled in sailing and that rowing is his real passion, having rowed for Trinity College Dublin and Neptune rowing club.

“He will be amused to hear himself being described by (Foreign Secretary) David Miliband as among five young men,” he said.

“The other four may be young but David isn’t. Although he is an extremely fit man for his age – he’s in his early 60s but you wouldn’t know it to look at him.

“I don’t know anything about the other guys at all but I imagine that they will look to him for some sort of guidance and vice versa, he’ll be looking for their youthful exuberance as well, perhaps.”

Oliver Smith, 31, from Southampton, Oliver Young, 21, from Plymouth, Sam Usher, 26, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and Luke Porter, 21, from Weston-super-Mare, were also on board the Sail Bahrain-owned yacht when it strayed into Iranian waters as they sailed from from Bahrain to Dubai.

Mr Smith said he was offering his support to the Bloomer family and was hoping for a speedy release.

“Naturally everybody will be worried in a situation like this, because you really don’t know what’s going on in the minds of the people that picked them up,” he said.

“But it’s clearly an innocent situation where, by all accounts, the engine on the boat went and they were drifting with no wind and drifted into foreign territory.

“Hopefully sense will prevail in due course.”

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