Yacht crew injured in round-the-world race


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The Independent Online

Emergency medical supplies have been dropped by the US Coastguard for the 62-foot yacht Geraldton Western Australia after four crew members were injured 400 miles off California.

The yacht, taking part in the British-organised Clipper round the world race for amateurs who pay to take part, was hit by “a large wave” in what are described as storm conditions.

The four are Nik Brbora, 28, from London, Jane Hitchins, a 30-year old doctor from Kent, Mark Burkes, 37, from Worcestershire, and Max Wilson, 62, from Queensland, Australia.

Hopes that the injured crew could be taken off the yacht were dashed by the difficult conditions. There are other medically trained crew on board. Race director Joff Bailey hopes to organise a rendezvous with the commercial ship.

The 68-footer, the last of 10 in the fleet, is making its way slowly to Oakland, San Francisco, the destination from the previous stopover in Qingdao, China.

Taken off because off injury is Spanish crewman Neti Cuervas-Mons as the 70-footer Telefonica dived into the lee of the island of Herschel Island at Cape Horn. That reduces the crew to nine plus a media reporter as, after 12 hours for repairs to the bow, it resumed racing towards the finish of the leg from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil.

Ahead of the overall leader in the Volvo round the world race, the American-flagged Puma has snatched the lead from the French yacht Groupama as both rounded Cape Horn and headed north in fickle conditions with light winds in localised high pressure zones.

The second Spanish yacht, Camper, managed by Team New Zealand, is still heading for repairs in Puerto Montt, 1,000 kilometres south of Santiago, and Abu Dhabi, skippered by Britainj’s Ian Walker, is struggling after having to bolt some reinforcing to damage on the outside of the hull.

The sixth yacht, Sanya, is being shipped to Savannah for repairs and will the miss the next leg from Brazil to Miami.

In Long Beach, the current world match race champion Ian Williams of Southampton, took his Team GAC Pindar to back-to-back wins in the Congressional Cup.