Lessons learned

Yachting World - - Front Page -

CV24’S skip­per had 23 years of pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence in a range of boats, in­clud­ing rac­ing yachts and su­pery­achts. He held a com­mer­cially en­dorsed RYA Yacht­mas­ter (Ocean) qual­i­fi­ca­tion, but he clearly had too much on his plate.

He only joined the boat at Punta del Este for legs two and three af­ter the orig­i­nal Green­ings skip­per dam­aged his hand on the first leg. There was no as­signed nav­i­ga­tor at the time of the grounding – two were listed but both were on the off-watch crew. Pa­per charts were not in use; no way­points, tracks nor dan­ger ar­eas were set on the plot­ter; the radar was switched off and the depth in­for­ma­tion was not on dis­play at the helm sta­tion.

In ad­di­tion to the grounding and loss of CV4 and CV24, the MAIB holds records of 17 other ground­ings of Clip­per yachts in the five years prior to this ac­ci­dent, and one since. The re­port shows how all have sim­i­lar­i­ties, in­clud­ing: the skip­per be­ing dis­tracted from nav­i­ga­tion; the nav sta­tion not be­ing manned in coastal waters; a lack of ad­e­quate sit­u­a­tional aware­ness by the crew on deck and an un­der­es­ti­ma­tion of the time re­quired for deck evo­lu­tions to be con­ducted safely.

On the very next leg af­ter this in­ci­dent, the Clip­per race re­ported its third fa­tal­ity (the third in the event’s 21-year his­tory) when Si­mon Speirs, 60, a re­tired prop­erty so­lic­i­tor from Bris­tol, fell over­board while on the fore­deck help­ing change the yacht’s head­sail in the race from Cape Town to Aus­tralia on 18 Novem­ber. This trig­gered im­me­di­ate ac­tion from the MCA, re­quir­ing the fleet be manned in ac­cor­dance with the SCV Code.

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