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Volvo Ocean Race - Injuries after giant trimaran involved in collision

by on 18 Jun 2015
Moment of impact - Spindrift and a marshall boat - start of the Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 9 @ AFP
Volvo Ocean Race has issued two media advisories following an incident on the water involving a trimaran (not related to the Volvo Ocean Race) and a marshal RIB from the Lorient stopover close to the starting area for Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Tuesday.

They report that a woman has been seriously injured and is continuing to receiving treatment at the hospital in Lorient. Other sources reported the victim to be a woman in her early forties who sustained injuries in both legs. The woman is reported in French media as being the wife of the RIB driver.

Spindrift issued a media statement.

The trimaran Spindrift 2 was involved in an accident yesterday with a motor boat from the Volvo Ocean Race organisation.

While under reduced sail, Spindrift 2 was in collision with the rib which was crossing its path.

A person on board the motor boat was seriously injured. She received attention from the emergency services and was then transported to the Scorff hospital in Lorient.

Yann Guichard, skipper of Spindrift 2, said: « Above all else, we are concerned about the condition of the injured person. All our thoughts go out to her and to her family. The team has been deeply affected by the accident and naturally we are cooperating fully with the investigation that is underway. »

Owned by Donna Bertarelli (sister of America's Cup winner, Ernesto Bertarelli) and co-skippered by Yann Guichard, Spindrift 2 is the largest (40 m) offshore racing multihull in the world. Designed by VPLP, she is the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation, set in January 2012 when she was previously named Banque Populaire V. She set the record at 45 days, 13h and 42 minutes. She is based at Lorient a major French and world ocean racing base.


In a more detailed report, Volvo Ocean Race later advised that on Tuesday, June 16th 2015, at around 4:15 PM, the CROSS* Etel was notified of a collision in the starting area of Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race in Lorient, between the multihull 'Spindrift' (non-competitor) and a race organiser’s RIB with four people onboard.

A passenger on the RIB received leg injuries in the collision and was supported onsite by SNSM** semi-rigid boats SNS 704 and SNS 722 based in St Nazaire. After a conference call between the SAMU*** Medical Coordination Centre (SCMM 64) in Bayonne and CROSS Etel, it was decided to evacuate the injured person to the nearest hospital.

The civil security medical helicopter “Dragon 56” was immediately dispatched. The injured woman was airlifted at approximately 5:11 pm and transported to Scorff Hospital in Lorient were she was treated by medical staff at 5:16 pm.

* Centre Opérationnel de Surveillance et de Sauvetage
** Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer
*** Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente

Photographer from AFP, Jean-Sebastien Evrard was on the water for the start and captured the shot above of the moment of contact. Writing on his blog he describes the incident (translated from French)

This is the start of the ninth and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race, a prestigious sailing race around the world for monohulls. The Spindrift 2 is not among the competitors. But the boat in Lorient as home port, and it is traditional tall ships attend the race starts when they take place at home.

I find myself on a 'press boats' with three other photographers and two pilots. The weather is beautiful, the working conditions are ideal. Before launching out to sea towards Gothenburg, the end point of the race in Sweden, the Volvo Race yachts must carry a small race course near Lorient.
The 'boat media' on which I find myself took position at the limit of the 'exclusion zone' strictly limited by the organizers not to hinder competitors near the starting line. There are always many people on the water racing days. Several ships of the organization are there to prevent boaters and jet skis that swarm around the perimeter to venture into forbidden.

I see the Spindrift 2 that goes to the starting line. Almost stopped, the boat turns to port and took it towards the taking off speed. He heads straight for the group organizing boats. Immediately, the maneuver seems dangerous. This trimaran is a real Formula 1 of the sea, with great sailing, unheard tremendous acceleration and inertia. The helmsman does not enjoy a good view. The Spindrift 2 is like a big ship and difficult to maneuver down the track to a semi-rigid boat organizers stopped. The boat driver knows that if he advances, his boat will pass under the hull of the trimaran. It seems paralyzed, like us, on board the press boat.

For the full report (in French) click here
The fatal scene lasts only three or four seconds. The shock is inevitable. I see the occupants of semi-rigid to jump overboard in panic. Life jackets inflate automatically on contact with water.One of the rudders Spindrift 2 hits with full force the strands of a semi-rigid boat by making a really scary noise, a kind of large 'tac' ... A woman is projected violently with water. I am the only photographer on board the press boat to have the reflex to rob my camera to the scene and take fifteen images continuously. Why? I do not know ... I have not had time to understand what happened.

Pantaenius 2021 AUS Seagull FOOTERHenr-Lloyd 2021 For the love of foul weather FOOTERFlagstaff 2021AUG - Excess 11 - FOOTER

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