Ex-marine whose bravery was tested to the limit

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The Independent Online
They may be trained for every conceivable survival situation, but the Royal Marines don't often have cause to carry out surgery on themselves.

Not so for solo sailor and former marine Pete Goss (right,) who had no choice but to wield a scalpel in just such a fashion when he was 1,300 miles from land in his 50-foot yacht, Aqua Quorum, heading steadily towards Cape Horn.

An inflamed left elbow tendon which had troubled him for most of the three months he has been in the Vendee Globe non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world race took a dangerous turn for the worse when the skin ruptured.

Mr Goss called on the race doctor, Jean-Yves Chauve, and was given instructions by fax on how to deal with two protruding hernias. "It was very painful and the arm was unusable," he said yesterday. Once the decision to operate had been taken, he strapped a torch to his head and a mirror to his knee. "It's a rather strange sensation slicing away at yourself with a scalpel. Now we are praying it improves and no infection sets in," he said. "It doesn't look too bad and phase one seems to be over."

Mr Goss, who rescued sinking competitor Raphael Dinelli on Boxing Day and delivered him to Hobart, expects to round the Horn in five or six days.