Clipper Race: Injured Crewman Requires Medevac Rescue
Published on December 9th, 2015
(December 9, 2015; Day 9) – Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Skipper Daniel Smith contacted the Race Office at 1030 AEDT today (2330 UTC Tuesday 8 December) to report that round-the-world crew member Michael Gaskin, 54, from the West Midlands, UK, had sustained suspected broken ribs after he fell by the helming position when a wave broke over the back of the yacht in rough seas and 35 knots wind, approximately 130 nautical miles to the southwest of Tasmania.
Team Medics Ali Boeree and Jan Chatzis administered first aid while the Skipper contacted ClipperTelemed+, the Clipper Race remote telemedicine service. Doctors at the Praxes operations centre in Halifax, Canada, confirmed diagnosis and directed the provision of pain relief and anti-nausea medication.
Due to the proximity of Hobart and the rough conditions, the Skipper has decided to divert as a precaution so that Michael can be treated ashore. The team will continue the race to Sydney once Michael has been transferred to hospital.
“The Skipper reports that Mike is in a stable condition and is receiving pain relief,” explained Race Director Justin Taylor. “The conditions were quite challenging at the time. Mike was clipped on behind the high side helm. The low side helm took over to allow Mike to step in. A breaking wave broke over the side of cockpit and Mike says he hit the pushpit and heard his ribs crunch. He was then washed into the A frame and sustained a small cut to his head. He was stopped by his safety tether. This was the first breaking wave into the boat the team had experienced, although they had a lot of spray.”
Water breaking over the deck is very powerful. A cubic metre of water weighs a metric tonne.
This is the first medevac of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, the tenth edition of the biennial global series, the world’s longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles, taking 11 months to race between six continents. Only a handful of the 3300 amateur sailors who have participated over the last 19 years have had to be evacuated, the majority as a precaution following medical treatment aboard.
Michael’s next of kin has been informed. Everyone else aboard is safe and well.
Michael is an experienced yachtsman, holding a Day Skipper qualification and had previously sailed around Scotland, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.
The yacht is estimated to reach Hobart around 1000 AEDT tomorrow (Thursday) morning 10 December (2300 UTC 9 December).
Report by event media.
Background: The 40,000 mile Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on August 30 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The series is divided into 16 individual races, with the team with the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew.
The fourth race began December 1 and takes the fleet on three legs within Australia: Albany to Sydney, Sydney to Hobart, Hobart to Whitsundays… a total of 5,105 miles. The leg to Sydney is expected to take around 11-14 days to complete with an arrival window of December 12-15.
The ports along the race route are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Airlie Beach, Australia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London by late July.