Crew-member airlifted to hospital and another injured after trimaran capsizes during Route des Princes European Tour

Lucky escape for eight-man crew plus two guests as boat capsizes at the start of Dublin Bay race

There was a lucky escape for the eight crew and two non-participating guests on the 70-foot trimaran Spindrift when it capsized at the start of an inshore race on Dublin Bay as part of the Route des Princes European tour.

One of the guests was slightly injured and one of the crew was airlifted to hospital for routine checks to a back injury. At one point up to six ambulances, two fire engines, the local lifeboat, and two helicopters were in attendance as part of a routine procedure.

But the boat, one of four MOD70s taking part in the race, suffered mast breakage and the hulls were being towed ashore to Dun Laoghaire to be lifted out for further damage checks.

Given the recent death of British Olympic gold medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson when the 72-foot Swedish America’s Cup challenger Artemis capsized on San Francisco Bay while training, there was considerable relief for the organisers, who cancelled the second and third of the day’s scheduled races.

The Swiss-backed Spindrift, which was leading the event overall after similar inshore races and two offshore legs from Valencia to Lisbon and Lisbon to Dublin, is skippered by Yann Guichard but he, nor any of his team, was immediately available for comment. No-one would say if the boat would be ready for the next offshore leg to Plymouth, which is due to start on Monday. The 90-foot mast had to be cut away.

The race managers were taking time to consider whether to run Sunday’s second set of three inshore races. The weather forecast for Sunday also contained fresh winds. On Saturday the strength was a steady 20 knots but gusting 27 and up to 30 knots.  The race management also delayed an expected announcement on whether the fleet, which also includes four 50-foot trimarans and an 80-foot trimaran, would include an attempt on the 44-hour record for sailing around Ireland on its way to Plymouth.

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