Nasty collision at Block Island
Published on May 31st, 2022
James Murphy’s full crewed Lyman Morse Seguin 49 Inisharon (USA 51003) and Tim Kent’s doublehanded Class40 Kent Racing (USA 34) had a nasty collision during the 186nm Block Island Race. Here are the details as posted in the protest report following their afternoon start on May 27, 2022:
1. At approximately 0455, Inisharon was on starboard tack rounding the south end of Block Island, leaving BI to starboard. Winds were 20 kts with gusts to 24kts, sea state 4-6 ft and confused. Visibility 150-200 yards due to early morning light and fog.
2. Inisharon saw Kent Racing approaching on a collision course, approximately 150 yards off her port side. Inisharon’s watch captain observed Kent Racing take a visible dip, which Inisharon’s crew interpreted as indicating its intention to pass Inisharon’s stern. At that time and throughout the incident, all of Inisharon’s crew on deck (Tom Young, Ron Thompson, James Murphy Jr, Urs Mueller) hailed Kent Racing repeatedly, calling “starboard” loudly and clearly.
3. As Kent Racing came closer, back on a collision course, Inisharon’s crew again saw her bear off. Approximately 20 seconds later, Kent Racing was still on a collision course. Inisharon’s helmsman, Tom Young, seeing that it was clear that Kent Racing was not keeping clear and collision was imminent, put the wheel hard over to starboard to avoid a collision.
4. Instead of passing to stern, Kent Racing did not change course and first her bow sprit then her bow forcefully struck Inisharon on her port side forward of Inisharon’s mast, roughly where the middle of her three shrouds makes contact with the deck. Inisharon sustained serious damage, as detailed below. The impact made a loud bang and shook the entire boat. In addition to serious hull and other damage, the force of the collision shattered both radar reflectors on the port and starboard D2 shrouds and sent debris to deck. Inisharon’s crew observed that the force of the initial collision bent the bowsprit of Kent Racing. Immediately after the collision, one of Inisharons’s crew, Ron Thompson, hailed “protest.”
5. After the initial collision, Kent Racing luffed up to tack to starboard and struck Inisharon a second time at the area of Inisharon’s shrouds with her rear starboard quarter, causing further damage.
6. After Kent Racing tacked, she continued sailing away from Inisharon on starboard tack and luffed up.
7. At the time of the collision, it was obvious to Inisharon’s crew that Inisharon had sustained serious damage and that its crew, both on deck and below, were potentially in danger. Following the collision, the crew were immediately engaged in ensuring the crew’s safety, ensuring the integrity of the rig and hull, checking for critical damage below decks, and taking down Inisharon’s sails. All crew were engaged in intensive safety measures for at least 30 minutes.
8. Approximately 30 minutes after the collision, Kent Racing hailed Inisharon by VHF Channel 16. Kent Racing informed Inisharon that they had no injuries or distress. Inisharon confirmed that it also had no injuries or distress. After initial crew discussions on injuries (none) and boat damage assessment, I called the Race Committee by cellphone at 0544 leaving a message about the collision, the lack of personal injuries, the damage to the boat, and our intention to file a protest.
9. Initial assessment shows significant damage to Inisharon’s hull on the port side, stay pulled up from deck, chain plate buckled, and extensive interior damage.
Note: As of May 31 at 5:26pm ET, the online protest report remains open, with the Sailing Instructions stating how protest hearings “will be held at a time and place to be determined and mutually acceptable to the parties involved.” For race details, click here.