Casualties in 24 hours – Southern Ocean ‘Roaring Forties’

[Extracted from reports]


As the fleet were three days into the Southern Ocean, they met with hurricane force gusts which soon unravelled the mightiness of mother nature.

With the wind conditions building up, Matt (Skipper) anticipated the need to bring up a smaller head-sail during our ‘happy hour’ (11-1pm). As the yacht rode down a swell, the bow plunged into a wave, sweeping a couple of team-mates as the waves gushed passed. With that, the Southern Ocean had claimed its first Clipper 13-14 casualty by our Australian mate on board Mission Performance. Thrown back about a metre or so, 40 year old David Griffin’s calf was cleanly punctured by the cleat, missing the bone.

David explained: “We were on the bow preparing to take down the head sail. I had my back to the bow, down on one knee, and one wave broke over me so my leg was flat but it pushed me up against the cleat and then a much heavier wave broke over me and hit me square in the back (impaling his calf on the cleat) I feel like I am in the team now. It’s been pretty hellish conditions.”

Barely 24 hours later, Derry~Londonderry~Doire was knocked sideways by a large breaking wave, sending birthday girl Michelle Porter hard against the deck with what was suspected to be a broken arm. (suffered torn ligaments. whew)

Sean McCarter (Skipper, Derry~Londonderry~Doire) said; “I had just drifted off after helping both watches with periods on the helm and awoke to a bag of spanners arriving in my bunk. This is strange as usually they live far away on the other side of the boat. Then it clicked that the boat was heeled over a long way! As quickly as I could, I pulled on my foulies and started making my way on deck past the carnage that is a Clipper 70, shaken all around. Before I reached the companionway, I heard the shout that no skipper wants to hear…’MEDIC’!”

Both Mission Performance and Derry~Londonderry~Doire suspended racing temporarily to evacuate both casualties with the Coast Guard at Port Elizabeth, South Africa and are now back in the race towards Albany, Western Australia.

BBC News London – “Clipper Race member to be evacuated after violent storm”


Mission Performance Singaporean Nurse, Bee Lian Seet, attending to David Griffin.

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