ACCIDENT: Crew injured in Banderas Bay

Published on March 24th, 2013

Down in the sunny latitudes of Mexico’s central coast, the 21st annual Banderas Bay Regatta (Mar 19-23) in Vallarta, México had 55 boats signed up for the not-too-serious regatta, which has long been dominated by cruising yachts rather than purpose-built racing machines. However, the lack of intensity did not prevent a fairly dramatic accident, as reported here by Latitude 38

(March 23, 2013) – Banderas Bay sailmaker Mike Danielson suffered two broken legs in an incident during the Class A start of race two yesterday in the Banderas Bay Regatta. Craig Shaw, driving his father Howard Shaw’s Portland-based Hunter 54 Camelot was literally in the middle of it, and gives this report:

“The Variana 44 Olas Lindas, with former J-World instructor Eugenie Russell at the helm, forced us up near the starting line about 10 seconds before the start. She had every right to do this, as she was the leeward boat. We were hard on the wind, maybe 30 or 40 feet from the Race Committee boat, when the J/160 Blue came barging in – which is illegal – between us and the RC boat at about 10 knots. I yelled “No room!” My crew tells me that I hollered it three times. Those on the RC boat said they heard me.

“Blue finally responded by heading up, going over the line early. But their transom came into our boat at about the shrouds. We didn’t feel or hear any contact, but saw someone on Blue rush to the closest point of contact to help someone. We later learned that Mike Danielson had fallen while trying to cross the stern of Blue to fend off, fell overboard between the boats, and had both legs broken. Naturally, we all felt horrible about it.”

Randy Hough of the Vallarta YC, who was on the RC boat, wrote the following to Shaw. “We talked with Ken Sears, the owner of Blue, and many witnesses. Blue put herself into a bad position with nowhere to go. They were not aware that Olas Lindas was taking you up and that you had nowhere to go. Eugenie from Olas Lindas was very open, and it was her account that helped everyone understand what happened. From our vantage point on the RC boat, we were not aware of any contact. It looked like a barging/over early “no harm no foul” sort of thing, and we expected Blue to come charging around the RC boat to restart.” – Read on

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