Death on opening day of Regates Royales

East coast yachtsman Wilf Tolhurst was killed today when two British yachts collided in 20-knot north-easterly winds and confused seas on the opening day of the Regates Royales in the Bay of Cannes today.

Cannes Yacht Club vice-president Jean-Paul Ortelli talks to Stuart Alexander following the death of Wilf Tolhurst at the Regates Royales in the Bay of Cannes

Tolhurst, 64, with his son as one of the other seven crew, was at the helm of his 8-Metre Safir and said to be trying to avoid a right of way boat, British America's Cup boss and Admiral's Cup team captain Graham Walker's 1916-built 65-foot Nathaniel Herreshoff-designed Rowdy. At 35 tons, Rowdy would be over twice the weight of Safir.

The 8-Metre was dismasted and Walker's bowsprit, which was locked between Safir's mast and its forestay, was snapped. Making the announcement, Jean-Claude Montesinos, president of the Yacht Club de Cannes, said that, although Tolhurst was lifted off and rushed to hospital, he was thought to have died instantly, hit by the mast and boom as it crashed down.

He added that the Tolhurst family had said that they wished the regatta, which finishes on Saturday, to continue. It was the first death in a regatta celebrating its 30th anniversary. All the rest of the 168-boat fleet will carry black tomorrow.

Walker managed to save his boat as the stricken Safir was then blown on to the rocks.

Another yacht to be dismasted was the Italian Ea as the top of its new mast gave way when beating upwind. No-one was injured.

The regatta is run in parallel with the annual gathering of the Societe Nautique de Geneve, the club which is the holder, courtesy of Ernesto Bertarelli's triumphs in Alinghi, of the America's Cup. Under the rules of the America's Cup any challenging club must show that it organises an annual regatta on the sea or an arm of the sea. Geneva does not meet that requirement.

And it is host to the Dragon class at the last of its 2008 European circuit. There are 79 in Cannes with British hopes carried by another east coast-based yachtsman, the Dane Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower