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Posts Tagged ‘crash’

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Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 7.48.28 AMWelcome to the 2015 Tour De France a la Voile, the seminal series barely rescued from an ignominious death last year and entering its final days of action down in Nice.  The new TdF is all about beaches, babes, trimarans, and action rather than sportsyachts, distance racing, and student teams.  Wanna see the balls-deep T-bone this shot comes from?  Click here for the full video of the crash.  For more links and discussion of the all-new event, hit the thread.

 

July 24th, 2015 by admin

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AFP photographer Jean-Sebastien Evard had another view of the Spindrift 2 versus Volvo Ocean Race RIB incident, and it differs from that of the Spindrift in several ways; first, that the RIB was stationary (though the prop wash in several pics calls that into question), and second, that the trimaran was under reduced sail (a photo and caption in his original story show a full main and solent).  Our thoughts go out to everyone effected by this horrific accident, and most especially to the woman fighting for her life in a hospital.  We have little doubt that phone videos and viewer accounts will help pin down the chain of events leading to this one and lay blame where it belongs, but for now, positive thoughts or prayer are in order.

Read the full account in French here.

This is the start of the ninth and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race, a prestigious sailing race around the world for monohulls. The Spindrift 2 is not among the competitors. But the boat in Lorient as home port, and it is traditional tall ships attend the race starts when they take place at home.

I find myself on a press boats with three other photographers and two pilots. The weather is beautiful, the working conditions are ideal. Before launching out to sea towards Gothenburg, the end point of the race in Sweden, the Volvo Race yachts must carry a small race course near Lorient.

The media boat on which I find myself took position at the limit of the exclusion zone strictly limited by the organizers not to hinder competitors near the starting line. There are always many people on the water on racing days. Several organizer boats are there to prevent boaters and jet skis that swarm around the perimeter to venture into forbidden.

I see the Spindrift 2 going to the starting line. Almost stopped, the boat turns to port and picks up speed. He heads straight for the marshal boats. Immediately, the maneuver seems dangerous. This trimaran is a real Formula 1 of the sea, with great sailing, unheard-of acceleration and tremendous inertia. The helmsman does not have a good view.   The Spindrift 2 is like a big ship, difficult to maneuver down the track towards a stopped marshal boat.  The boat driver knows that if he advances, his boat will pass under the hull of the trimaran. It seems paralyzed, like us, on board the press boat.

The scene lasts only three or four seconds. The shock is inevitable. I see the RIB occupants jump overboard in panic.  Life jackets inflate automatically on contact with water. One of the rudders of the trimaran hits with full force the side of the RIB, making a frightening noise that sounds like “tac”.  A woman is launched violently into the water. I am the only photographer on board the press boat to have the reflex to whip my camera into place and take 15 continuous images.  Why? I do not know … I have not had time to understand what happened.

Immediately, our skipper rushes to the scene of this rare accident, thirty or forty meters from us. But we will not have to intervene: In seconds, two National Rescue Society boats are already there and take things in hand.

A huge bloodstain slowly spreads in the sea near the RIB. After twenty minutes, a helicopter arrives, hoisting the victim aboard.  She looks in very bad shape…

Full google trans here.

 

June 17th, 2015 by admin

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UPDATE DIRECTLY FROM SPINDRIFT 2: While sailing under reduced sail, the Spindrift 2 trimaran collided with the RIB that crossed her path.  A person who was on board the motor boat was seriously injured before being taken over by the rescue and transported to the hospital Scorff Lorient. “We are primarily concerned about the health of the victim. All our thoughts are with her and her family,” said Spindrift 2 skipper Yann Guichard. “The team is deeply affected by this incident and of course, we are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigations.”

Two photographers were thrown from a Volvo Ocean Race marshal boat and one woman reportedly sliced open by the rudder of the RTW Jules Verne record-owning Spindrift 2 during the Lorient start of the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.  There is precious little actual news about the incident, though one eyewitness told us it was ‘grisly’, and the three shot sequence of the knife-like rudder of the monster trimaran as it passed through the RIB (shot 1, shot 2, shot 3 via Getty/AFP) doesn’t need too much imagination to see just how bad the wounds probably are.

The woman, in her 40s, was airlifted to hospital, and the other three crew were brought in separately.  The VOR has something of a non-statement here, and we’ve been pestering the Spindrift 2 team for something from them as well.

Having seen the lack of awareness from the ‘stake’ or marshal boats at almost every stopover, we’re shocked this hasn’t happened sooner, and the ease with which the inexperienced underestimate the closing speeds of the latest flying and foiling boats makes it inevitable.

This whole thing brings up a much deeper problem that every organizer must now step up and accept; faster sailboats mean support boat drivers MUST BE BETTER TRAINED, and drone operators must be checked out and permitted by each event.  There is no way around it, and the longer we wait, the more people will lose their fingers, their toes, their limbs…or worse.

Photo from AFP via this story in Le Telegramme.

June 17th, 2015 by admin

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Some days, you just gotta stay home.  This dude on Sydney Harbour had one of those days, but at least the Manly Ferry folks had some fun!

 

March 3rd, 2015 by admin

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BORA NNC

That’s double gold medalist Shirley Robertson and her CNN Mainsail producer offering the first of many apologies to top US mothie and Luna Rossa Challenge team member Bora Gulari (Detroit, Michigan) after her media boat collided with his foiling moth.  Shirley’s media boat destroyed the rudder gantry of Bora’s Mach 2 during the carnage-filled pre-start to an aborted race yesterday while the CNN crew were facing the other way; they were filming a pre-start lineup with Nathan Outerridge and Paul Goodison.

CNN took Bora’s foils to shore and then left him when help came along; Bora went into survival mode, with a club rescue RIB nearly running him over in an attempted recovery in wind-against-tide nastiness.  Finally, the ETNZ rescue boat came over and helped the American and his boat get to shore (along with helping about a dozen others, while event rescue boats milled about in some confusion).

15_004095_MothWorlds2015While CNN may be used to being ridiculed, we’re pretty disappointed in Robertson, who we know is a passionate, experienced sailor.  Given how lightly the responsible RIB got off (no injuries to Bora), Shirley would have certainly won our respect had she stood up and taken responsibility and assuring Bora that she would do what it took to get his boat back up to snuff.  Instead, she tried to divert blame from her, implying that the sailboat ran into her powerboat.   We understand that lawyers have made honesty something of a relic, but we would hope Shirley knows better.  Apparently not.

In contrast, Regatta Chair Peter Osbourne and the entire SSCBC team have been transparent and communicative, and this morning, we got a phone call assuring us that Bora would not be out of pocket for a penny.  That’s how it should be done.  Top photo credit to Petey Crawford, rescue shot to Sander Van Der Borch.

Racing is cancelled for Wednesday, with 30-40 knots on Port Philip Bay.  Join us right here on Sailing Anarchy for all the live video action on Thursday and Friday as the Worlds Finals is packed into 2 short days.

January 13th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 9.06.50 PMRemember when our Senior Editor was the closest witness to a multiple-death boat crash this summer on the river in Michigan?  Well, apparently there is some justice in the world, and it also means Mr. Clean won’t have to answer that witness subpoena after all.

Brandon Verfaillie’s blood alcohol was over 0.1 more than an hour after the crash according to police, and he he allegedly pled guilty to two counts of operating a vessel while intoxicated causing death and one count of operating a vessel while intoxicated causing serious injury; the maximum combined time he can be sentenced is 35 years, and the judge will hand it down in January.

Verfaillie is also facing wrongful death and other lawsuits.  His life is mostly over, but not over as the two people he killed.  Thankfully, while it’s got its shortcomings, the system sometimes works.

 

December 9th, 2014 by admin

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You thought rudder problems were an issue in your wee yacht? Well, when it hits one of the world’s largest container ships as she enters Suez Canal, it’s a whole different ballgame.  Check out the Colombo Express taking a chunk (and some containers) off the Tanjong in the spectator video above; the canal was shut down for about half a day with minimal pollution issues and no injuries; a lucky end to a collision that could have been a hell of a lot worse.  Thanks to SA’er ‘pipe dream’ for the heads up.

 

October 1st, 2014 by admin

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Gary Green’s Bennie 44.7 Green Dragon 2 takes a bite out of Jerry Finnegan’s Cal 40 Celebrity during the Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race.  Grab some popcorn and enjoy.  Then talk shit.   Thanks to ‘Par Avion’ for the find.

 

August 6th, 2014 by admin

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Just two hours before some of the the Cal 25 Nationals fleet would sail through the same spot on the way back to Bayview Yacht Club from Port Huron, MI, our own Mr. Clean was on hand to witness a horrific accident in the St. Clair River.  While a picture may say a thousand words, this was a truly bizarre one, and we go to Clean for more on yet another big summer boating accident.  The lesson to sailors? Never stop scanning your horizon for the marine environment’s real killers: Go-fasts with drunken idiots behind the wheel.

In a lifetime on the water, I’ve never seen anything quite so nasty happen, and I just happened to have a front row seat.   Remember when that moron in the speedboat on the Lake of the Ozarks caught a wake at speed and nearly flipped, beating the hell out of the occupants?

We had a similar situation here last night but with much worse consequences, when a  25 or 30 foot Baja cigarette-style boat, running at least 50 mph, decided to go through the wake of a big Bayliner cabin cruiser without throttling back, and at a terrible angle.  I happened to be less than 200 feet from it all; having slowed down for the Bayliner’s wake, I saw the speedboat approaching at mach 2 and decided to watch the action, actually saying to myself, out loud, “This is gonna be good.”

It wasn’t.

The Baja caught the first wave and got heeled to the left in the air, then caught the second at a worse angle, which launched it back in the air, now with 20 or more degrees of heel to the right.  By this time, even if the driver were still hanging on to the wheel, he was just along for the ride.  The Baja hit the third wave at a terrible angle – the boat was bow-up and heeled hard to the right when it hit – and it literally launched itself completely clear of the water by 4-6 feet – aimed directly at the Bayliner’s flying bridge.  The heel on the Baja had rounded the boat up on the final wave, turning it to the left instead of straight through as intended by the driver.   The Baja didn’t so much hit the Bayliner (and the six people on the bridge) as landed on top of it, then continued over it, and landed in the river.  The entire upper deck of the Bayliner was torn off its supports, and barely remained connected to the main deck by a few hoses and wires.

After calling 911, I moved.  The Baja was between the cruiser and me, so I snapped a pic of the culprits to make sure no one made a run for it.  They were pretty shaken up, and responded that ‘everyone’s fine’ when asked.  I gunned it over to the stricken vessel, and they were shouting that there was someone in the water.  As I searched downriver and mentally tried to figure out how much water had moved in the 5 minutes since impact, (there is 2-3 knots of current in the river at this point), I kept yelling for every boat I saw to join in the search.  Shortly thereafter, with more than a dozen boats now on scene helping out (but still no official help) a woman’s body was pulled out by a pontoon boat, and 20 minutes of CPR didn’t help her.

As the body was pulled from the water, I noticed the Baja drifting downriver, nearly out of sight.  As I headed back to them, a crowd hollered at me on shore, and I ran over to a house to pick up the local Fire Chief, who I dropped off on the Bayliner to help with the rescue.  As I handed him off, I saw the second body in what used to be the cockpit of the boat – a man in his 50s – also unresponsive after a few minutes of CPR.  A third casualty – a woman in her 60s – looked to be going into shock, or cardiac arrest, or both.

I hung around for long enough to see the freighter traffic start to idle through the channel again, as it just didn’t seem right to buzz over to the lake and go fishing after the carnage I’d just witnessed.  After giving my number and info to the Marine Police and USCG as a witness, I overheard the Sheriff who had the Baja’s driver in custody talking to the neighboring police boat.  ”You take the statements from the passengers; I’m taking this one in.”  I couldn’t hear the next question from the deputy, but the Sheriff’s response made that clear.  ”Yep, he’s been drinking.”

It’s unlikely that a sober Baja driver would have done any better in that situation, but that’s not the issue.  A sober person – at least one with an IQ over 50 – would never have taken that wake at that speed.  Once again, the equation holds: Horsepower + (Alcohol OR Youth) + Inexperience = Death.

Title comes from one of the 80′s best cult films, also about a river, death, and stupid people.

 

August 4th, 2014 by admin

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2014-07-21 13.52.54UPDATE: From the forum

7/23 – Wanted to let you all know that Bob Winson passed away this morning at about 3:30a.  He was surrounded by his family – as he was when this terrible accident occurred.  Bob was surrounded by family wherever he went.  He loved being on the water with Dale.  He was a wonderful man.  I miss him already.

Want to set the record straight – Pythagoras is owned by Dale Winson and his dad, Bob.  Dale and Bob have been ocean racing together for 40+ years. 

Pythagoras left Alamitos bay this past weekend with the entire family aboard for a Sunday sail.  While sailing on starboard tack, Pythagoras was struck by a charter sailboat on port tack.  Pythagoras did their best to avoid the collision, however, the bow of the sail boat – and bow anchor – struck Dale’s 84-year old dad in the head as he sat on the leeward side.   

Bob was struck in the head by the bow anchor resulting in a massive brain injury from which he will not recover.  Dale and his family are by his father’s side – they understand that he will pass away soon. This is a really sad tragedy and to speculate any further is just that – speculation.  Hoping you will all say a prayer for Dale and his family. 

The Olson 40 Pythagoras was the latest powerboat casualty in the world of yachting; according to Channel 16, she was run down by a powerboat off Alamitos Bay.  At least one crew member was injured and taken off by lifeguards, and the only news we can find is right here in the thread.

How many more people need to get wounded before we all decide to start carrying flare guns in our cockpits to fire at these motorboating yahoos?  Thanks to SA’er “LBC” for the shot.

 

July 22nd, 2014 by admin

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