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Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.58.53 AMAC Breaking

One of the things you try not to think too much about when you’re sailing a GC32 cat is the foils.  It’s the same way surfers in Western Australia or South Africa avoid thinking about the 5 meter-sharks swimming beneath them; and a modern cat’s foils are at least as dangerous as a Great White.  And now, they’ve taken first blood out of one of the world’s top sailors in Quiberon, France.

Team France/Groupama skipper Franck Cammas fell overboard from his GC32 today during a training session for prospective Team France AC sailors, and according to Breton periodical Ouest France, his ankle was partially severed by the knife-like rudder as the boat sailed past.

Whether you’re sailing a GC32, AC45/50, Flying Phantom, Nacra FCS – it doesn’t matter.  All the helmets, spare air, and kevlar spine supports in the world won’t save you from several meters of carbon-fiber blade cutting off your own appendages – or worse.  If it can happen to one of the quickest and most dexterous sailors in history, no one is really safe, and with the Extreme Sailing Series moving to the GC32 for 2016, organizers are going to have to think long and hard about just how many severed limbs they can tolerate.  Or maybe...it’s not a problem after all!

We’ll have more on this breaking story as soon as we have it, and we send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to the one of the sport’s most influential sailors and a longtime friend to SA and to sailing everywhere. Head over to the Team France thread for the latest.