The woman was racing with her husband when she was thrown overboard.
A coroner’s report has recorded a verdict of accidental death cause by drowning in the case of Maxine Wood, 55, of Tockwith, outside of York, who was thrown overboard from the yacht she was racing with her husband and a friend.
The trio owned the 26ft Contessa sailboat called True Blue and were sailing in a two-boat race on July 12, when Mrs Wood was plunged into the water. The three competed in yacht races in Bridlington most weekends at the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club.
Mr Wood was piloting the yacht while Mrs Wood and the yacht’s co-owner and the couple’s friend, Harold Poole, were tacking the sails.
Reportedly, Mr Poole told the court: “As we were coming to the buoy, Maxine was bending down as we were making a sharp turn. I thought the boom hit her across the shoulder and Maxine fell into the water. She did a couple breast strokes, but was then flat on her face.”
Both boats in the race quickly turned back to make a rescue, battling against currents. The rival boat reached Mrs Wood first and pulled her onboard. The local RNLI attempted to perform CPR and Mrs Wood was airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary.
Mr Wood said: “I was going to pieces as I was watching what was going on. It all happened so quickly that I wasn’t sure what had happened in front of me. It was as if it was not in real life. I could not believe what I was watching.”
Mrs Wood died four days later when her family made the decision to remove her from life support. She had suffered irreversible brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.
Although there was a question of the proper functioning of the life jacket Mrs Wood was wearing in the accident, an independent ocean safety specialist ruled the company that manufactures the life jackets was not at fault.