UPDATE DIRECTLY FROM SPINDRIFT 2: While sailing under reduced sail, the Spindrift 2 trimaran collided with the RIB that crossed her path. A person who was on board the motor boat was seriously injured before being taken over by the rescue and transported to the hospital Scorff Lorient. “We are primarily concerned about the health of the victim. All our thoughts are with her and her family,” said Spindrift 2 skipper Yann Guichard. “The team is deeply affected by this incident and of course, we are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigations.”
Two photographers were thrown from a Volvo Ocean Race marshal boat and one woman reportedly sliced open by the rudder of the RTW Jules Verne record-owning Spindrift 2 during the Lorient start of the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. There is precious little actual news about the incident, though one eyewitness told us it was ‘grisly’, and the three shot sequence of the knife-like rudder of the monster trimaran as it passed through the RIB (shot 1, shot 2, shot 3 via Getty/AFP) doesn’t need too much imagination to see just how bad the wounds probably are.
The woman, in her 40s, was airlifted to hospital, and the other three crew were brought in separately. The VOR has something of a non-statement here, and we’ve been pestering the Spindrift 2 team for something from them as well.
Having seen the lack of awareness from the ‘stake’ or marshal boats at almost every stopover, we’re shocked this hasn’t happened sooner, and the ease with which the inexperienced underestimate the closing speeds of the latest flying and foiling boats makes it inevitable. You know what else is inevitable? Someone inside VOR or the local organizer will probably be claiming that the sailboat is at fault, just like when Shirley Robertson and her RIB ran over Bora Gulari and nearly chopped off his leg with a propeller in Australia earlier this year. Her response at the time? “Bora’s hit us.”
This whole thing brings up a much deeper problem that every organizer must now step up and accept; faster sailboats mean support boat drivers MUST BE BETTER TRAINED, and Drone operators must be checked out and permitted by each event. There is no way around it, and the longer we wait, the more people will lose their fingers, their toes, their limbs…or worse.
Photo from AFP via this story in Le Telegramme.