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Derry Clipper race boat diverted as sailor Michael Gaskin breaks ribs in stormy waters

By Donna Deeney

Published 10/12/2015

Clipper crew member Mike Gaskin. Photo: onEdition
Clipper crew member Mike Gaskin. Photo: onEdition

There was drama on the high seas as Northern Ireland’s entry in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race had to divert to Tasmania after a crew member broke his ribs during a storm 130 nautical miles from land.

Michael Gaskin (54) was knocked off his feet after a wave broke over the Derry and Strabane-sponsored yacht in rough waters and 35-knot winds.

After an on-board first aid crew made Michael as comfortable as possible, skipper Daniel Smith contacted the race’s remote telemedic service, which advised him to direct the ship back to shore.

Mr Gaskin was then transferred to hospital in Tasmania. Speaking from there, Mr Smith said: “Mike is in a stable condition and is receiving pain relief. The conditions were quite challenging at the time. A breaking wave broke over the side of the cockpit and Mike says he hit the pushpit [a raised safety rail] and heard his ribs crunch.

“He was then washed into the A frame and sustained a small cut to his head. He was stopped by his safety tether.

“This was the first breaking wave into the boat that the team had experienced, although they have had a lot of spray. Water breaking over the deck is very powerful. A cubic metre of water weighs a metric tonne.”

The team has since rejoined the race to Sydney, Australia.

Derry clipper crew before departure from Albany to Sydney
Derry clipper crew before departure from Albany to Sydney

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