Dana Johannsen

Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald’s chief sports reporter

Yachting: NZ sailor aboard Groupama seriously injured

Brad Marsh after Groupama was dismasted. Photo / Groupama Sailing Team
Brad Marsh after Groupama was dismasted. Photo / Groupama Sailing Team

As Groupama secured the final podium spot for leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race last night, it emerged their Kiwi bowman Brad Marsh suffered serious injury in the immediate aftermath of the team's dismasting 650 nautical miles from the finish line.

Marsh needed five staples in his wrist, as well as treatment for shock, after plunging a knife in his wrist as he attempted to cut away the mainsail from the severed mast.

Marsh revealed the extent of his injury for the first time in a video from the boat, released after the team - with a recovered Marsh on board - resumed racing under jury rig on their way to the finish line in Itajai, Brazil.

"I had to climb up what was remaining of the mast and cut away the mainsail," said Marsh. "In the process of cutting away the mainsail I managed to cut my wrist.

"As I had my arms around the mast, the knife had gone into the wrist and I had to pull the knife back out. I knew it was quite deep into the wrist and you could see it was long. I was very, very nervous and when I returned to the deck, apparently, I was as white as a ghost."

Martin Krite and Martin Stromberg, two of Groupama's on-board medics, took him below deck to treat him.

"When Brad came down the rig we realised something was wrong," said Krite. "There was quite a bit of blood coming down from the rig and we could see from Brad's eyes that he was in shock.

"After talking to our team doctor we decided to staple him together. We took out the staple gun and put five staples in him and now he's as good as new, I think."

Groupama completed leg 5 last night with 20 points for third place, ensuring they remain in contention for the overall prize.

The French boat leapfrogged leg 5 winners Puma into second place overall, 20 points behind Telefonica, who are facing a hearing into allegations they carried an extra sail on leg 4 into Auckland.

With the French boat wrapping up third place, Team New Zealand's entry Camper are the only boat still remaining in the race to Itajai, with Team Sanya and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing having withdrawn from the leg.

The Camper crew are making steady progress towards Cape Horn after a six-day stopover in Chile to repair damage to their hull.

For much of yesterday, Camper were averaging speeds of around 20 knots in a 20-25 knot north-westerly breeze.

The team are expected to round Cape Horn today as they race to stay ahead of a strong low pressure system, which is developing behind them.

If they can beat the system a fast trip to Itajai should be ensured with an estimated time of arrival of April 16.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 27 Dec 2014 08:11:02 Processing Time: 523ms