Sailing: Casualties aplenty as sea turns on sailors

By Cameron Leslie

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Screams of "man overboard" meant rescuing skills were kept sharp during the 11th Bay of Islands Sailing Week.

After enjoying a calm build-up to the event, it didn't take long before the weekend's weather caused some spilt blood, tight results and plucking sailors from the sea.

Among the casualties recorded by both man and boat last Thursday during day two were, a sailor fished from the water bleeding heavily and taken to the Paihia emergency department with another who suffered a cut in the head and a fractured rib on board, along with a capsize and reports of broken equipment.

The first sign of trouble saw a "man overboard" cry going out from Enigma in the sports boats division after a crew member went over the side.

Officials on the start boat, Siesta, owned and operated by Kevin Petrie of Coastguard, immediately sprang into action.

The patient was hauled from the water with a deep hole in the arm and huge loss of blood from which the cause was unknown.

Petrie stopped the blood flow, bandaged the arm and had the patient ready for Bay Rescue in less than 10 minutes while an ambulance waited at Waitangi to whisk the patient off to Kawakawa Hospital.

Then, with racing set to start in Island Racing Div I, the topping lift on Cruise Control broke and landed on the head and shoulders of female crew member, Lindsay Graves, who immediately required assistance from the official boat.

Graves was transferred, taken ashore and taken by race director Ray Haslar to Paihia with a fractured rib and needing six stitches in her head.

Once Island Racing Div 1 actually got underway, Cotton Blossom beat Bullrush over the line by just four seconds and set up an exciting final day's racing.

Boats on the final day got away in east-sou-easterlies at 15-18 knots which steadily increased during the day.

The breeze began freshening significantly during the first race of B division which saw Power Play ahead at the first two cross-overs with Elysium in second place, Kaimai Express third and Simply Red right in behind.

Later on in the day for B division, Deep Throttle and Overload nosed in front while the weather out to sea was now being described as serious stuff with white caps and 20-25 knots of wind.

In A division, Georgia was first to the wing mark while catastrophe struck when Wired wiped out and was seen smoking, literally.

More from the event including overall results can found on Sailing Week website along with photos and and videos.

- Northern Advocate

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