Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015

Clipper yacht Derry~Londonderry~Doire diverted to Hobart, Tasmania for a medevac of an injured crewman as a precautionary measure during Leg 4 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Derrylondonderrydoire Diverts To Hobart In Clipper Race

(Photo: Michael Gaskin)

Skipper Daniel Smith contacted the Race Office on Tuesday December 8 to report that round-the-world crew member Michael Gaskin, 54, from the West Midlands, UK, had sustained suspected broken ribs after he fell by the helming position when a wave broke over the back of the yacht in rough seas and 35 knots wind, approximately 130 nautical miles southwest of Tasmania.

Team Medics Ali Boeree and Jan Chatzis administered first aid while the Skipper contacted ClipperTelemed+, the Clipper Race remote telemedicine service. Doctors at the Praxes operations centre in Halifax, Canada, confirmed diagnosis and directed the provision of pain relief and anti-nausea medication.

Due to the proximity of Hobart and the rough conditions, the Skipper has decided to divert as a precaution so that Gaskin can be treated ashore. The team will continue the race to Sydney once the 54-year-old has been transferred to hospital.

“The Skipper reports that Mike is in a stable condition and is receiving pain relief,” says Race Director Justin Taylor. “The conditions were quite challenging at the time. Mike was clipped on behind the high side helm. The low side helm took over to allow Mike to step in. A breaking wave broke over the side of cockpit and Mike says he hit the pushpit and heard his ribs crunch. He was then washed into the A-frame and sustained a small cut to his head. His safety tether stopped him. This was the first breaking wave into the boat the team had experienced, although they had a lot of spray.”

Derrylondonderrydoire Diverts To Hobart In Clipper Race 1

Water breaking over the deck is very powerful. A cubic-metre of water weighs a metric-tonne.

This is the first medevac of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, the 10th edition of the biennial global series, the world’s longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles, taking 11 months to race between six continents. Only a handful of the 3,300 amateur sailors who have participated over the last 19 years have had to be evacuated, the majority as a precaution following medical treatment aboard.

Gaskin is an experienced yachtsman, holding a Day Skipper qualification and had previously sailed around Scotland, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.

The race to Sydney is expected to take around 11-14 days to complete. The arrival window into Sydney is December 12-15.

Crews will then embark on the second portion of Leg 4, which will include the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.