Death on opening day of Regates Royales
Tuesday 23 September 2008
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.
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.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Monaco match report: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal provides little consolation as Berbatov and Monaco stun Gunners
Fabio Cannavaro given jail sentence: World Cup winning captain gets 10-months for swimming in pool
Charlton sex tape: is the #sextratime Vine real or just another publicity stunt?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Financial Fair Play under threat: Brussels court case could potentially lead to rules being scrapped
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 5 Muslim women's rights campaigner writes heartfelt letter to girls thinking of joining Isis
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Ukraine crisis: 'One miscalculation, and Britain faces an existential threat to our whole being...'