Four crew members were injured, two of them seriously, when a huge wave broke over their stern while competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. The yacht “Geraldton Western Australia” is one of a fleet of ten 68 foot yachts that are taking part in the legendry round the world race.
Two of the crew members 50 year old Jane Hitchens who is from Kent, and 29-year-old Nik Brbora, who resides in London have been airlifted off the yacht and transferred to San Fransisco hospital. Jane who is a doctor has suspected broken ribs (probably 4), and Nik who is a software engineer has problems with his pelvis.
Geraldton Western Australia was a few hundred miles off the Californian coast when the wave that caused the damage struck. The skipper of the yacht said the yacht had been making good speed when, just before sunrise, 'a monstrous foaming swell broke over our stern'.
Two other crew members were also injured in the incident, they are Max Wilson who is a farmer from Queensland Australia, and Mark Burkes from Worcester England. Max has suspected broken ribs and Mark has a back injury, both have been assessed well enough to stay on the yacht until it reaches land.
Joff Bailey, who is the Clipper Race Director said “We are naturally concerned at the recent incident on Geraldton Western Australia and are in close contact with the skipper, UK Maritime and Coastguard at Falmouth and the US Coast Guard.
“The safety of all Clipper Race crew is extremely important to us. Our skippers are highly experienced and several crew members on board have medical training.
“A deep depression hit the fleet earlier today with winds gusting over 60 knots. First reports described the yacht being caught by a large wave. We will issue more details as soon as we have them.”