Crewman airlifted to hospital as high winds hit Cowes Week


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The Independent Online

One crewman was airlifted to hospital with a worrying head injury, four more were treated in the local hospital, three classes, the Mermaids, the Sunbeams and the Sonars, abandoned any hope of racing before even trying as Aberdeen Cowes week served up another spicy goulash of wind and waves.

But the centenarian X One Designs said to hell with the weather and were sent flying eastwards down the Solent by the Princess Royal at, for them, the early wake up time of 10.00am.

No-one is going to complain about drifting around aimlessly this week and especially Andrew Shaw, who notched up his third win of the week in the Xs. Phoenix clearly revels in a breeze.

Still behind him there were 18 retirements and two dismastings as an entry list of 145 charged around a mixture of softer and safer inflated racing marks and rather more boat-threatening steel navigational marks.

In the big boat series, the American George David’s 100-foot Rambler at least turned out, which meant he clinched the private little big boat war, having lost on the other two occasions to Niklas Zennström’s 72-foot Rán.

Mike Bartholomew notched up another IRC handicap class one win in his 40-foot Tokoloshe to add to his Britannia Cup win, as did Ray Rouse’s Blanco in a Contessa 32 fleet in its 40th birthday year.

The Extreme Sailing Series again had to split the fleet in two to avoid too much carnage but conditions were again good in Cascais as AC45 wing-powered catamarans laid on a mix of fleet and match racing.

In Weymouth, Nick Dempsey won the silver in the windsurfers, pipped by just one point by Dorian van Rijsselberge of the Netherlands, and women’s counterpart Bryony Shaw won bronze.

The 49er pairing of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes have held on to their fourth position but have slipped further away from the bronze medal slot with two more races ahead of the medal race. But Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark go into the women’s 470 medal race leading by one point from Japan’s Ai Kondo and Wakato Tabata.