flinders findings

death in the sport

flinders findings

Many of you know of the tragic deaths of Andrew Short and Sally Gordon when Short’s maxi, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, ran aground on Flinders Islet. The Cruising Club of Australia conducted an internal inquiry. Here is a sample of what it includes:

Andrew had been steering the boat for nearly 7 hours. This was after a full working day. This has the potential to lead to fatigue and the organisation onboard, with little support or relief for the single person skipper, navigator and helmsman, could lead to overload. It possibly did but there is no direct evidence that this was the case. His crew reported Andrew was functioning as normal and they had ‘absolute confidence’ in his ability. That said it is inexplicable why the boat did not sail a safe course around a danger that could be seen.

If Andrew had been more alert he might have reacted more radically to Matt Pearce’s dramatic call from the bow to ‘come away’ as he ran aft to the mast. At this stage the boat was reported to be about 200 metres from the shore and at 15 knots about 20 seconds from grounding. A crash gybe to reverse course or parallel or open from the danger might have saved the boat but in the conditions could have caused the rig to be overloaded and the mast to break. This would have been a difficult split second decision, especially if the chart plotter was indicating you were safe and clear of the danger. For the entire report, click here.