Spectacular capsizing mars sailing race off Ireland

A severe wind gust during an inshore sailing race in Ireland tipped over a boat that had never capsized previously. The spectacular crash of the French entry Spindrift, a MOD70 trimaran, occurred Saturday during the Inshore Race of the Route des Princes off Dun Laoghaire in County Dublin.

All the crew members were rescued and were fine with the exception of skipper Yann Guichard's brother Jacques, who was taken to the hospital with a broken pelvis. See the dramatic capsize that caused the mast to shatter (Note: There is one perfectly understandable expletive):

Ironically, in an interview earlier this month, Yann Guichard talked about how his offshore racing experience has been a factor in not capsizing during the America's Cup World Series.

Guichard, in a Q&A with Sailing World, said:

In an offshore race, capsizing can be deadly and you put your teammates' lives in danger. So offshore racing is a constant exercise in risk calculation. You need to know when to take your foot off of the gas pedal because you are either going to break the boat or do something bad.

 

You also need to be in harmony with the boat when helming. I have been sailing multihulls for 20 years and have a developed a sense of how multihull sailing works. I can tell right away when the boat has reached its limit. It would be wrong to say that I will never capsize during an inshore race, but I have never capsized while sailing a boat larger than a Tornado.

This time was obviously different.

"We were at the limit of weather conditions for our boats and it was not great for racing," Yann Guichard told The Telegraph. "I was unable to do anything at the helm; the boat was turned over with a single blow. We let out the staysail immediately, but it was too late as it all happened in a split second."

According to The Sailing News TV, it is the first time a MOD70 capsized since this One Design boat was launched two years ago.

The capsizing brings the dangers of racing large multihull yachts back to the forefront. Last month, British sailor Andrew "Bart" Simpson died when he became trapped underneath the capsized AC72 catamaran in San Francisco Bay during training.

Fortunately, the Spindrift avoided a similar tragedy.