Slava Sysenko, the 47-year-old Ukrainian crewman aboard Tony Bullimore's TEAM
LEGATO, fractured his leg earlier today. The highly experienced yachtsman who is a
veteran of a previous round the world race, was knocked over by a large wave which
broke over the forward netting as he was struggling to reef down a headsail in the strong
head winds. 'A large wave knocked me off balance.' He told the Legato Race Office over
the satellite phone. 'It pushed me over, but my foot was caught under the headsail and I
twisted it badly.
According to TEAM LEGATO's skipper who is also the boat's medical expert, Slava has
broken his left Tibia at a point where the bone had been broken in a previous accident
some years ago. After being helped back into the shelter of the cockpit, Tony Bullimore
applied an anti-inflammatory bandage and splint to the leg, and the Ukrainian is now
resting in Tony's bunk in the central god-pod.
Tony's first thought was to head directly for Gibraltar just 13 miles ahead, but Sysenko,
who has been a key member of Bullimore's team ever since TEAM LEGATO was
updated in Bristol Docks, will not countenance a stop.
'No. I am determined to finish THE RACE. There will be no more stops.' He told the
Legato Race Office this afternoon. 'The leg is well strapped up and I am not in much
pain. I can stay here for another 3-4 days. I do not want to get off the boat.'
Tony Bullimore confirmed 'For the moment, I am prepared to bow to Slava's wishes, but
if conditions get too bad or I believe that the pain or discomfort he may be feeling gets
worse, I will have no hesitation in heading for the nearest port. My first priority is the
safety and welfare of my crew, but I fully understand Slava's wishes. As
circumnavigations go, this has been one of the toughest. He wants to complete this
challenge as much as any of us and it is this spirit that epitomises the strength of
character that runs right through this TEAM LEGATO crew.'
Slava Sysenko who comes from Bristol, is a veteran of the 1993/4 Whitbread Round the
World Race when he crewed aboard the first Ukrainian entry 'Hetman Sahaydachny.' He
has remained in the West ever since, carving out a career and reputation as a top
professional yachtsman. He has also completed four transatlantic crossings, the Round
Europe Race and Rum race in 1995/6. In 1997 he competed in the Maxi One Design
world championship series which took in the Round Europe Race, Gotland Runt, Cowes
Week and Fastnet classic.