Nasty moment on Flatron

Fingers in the mainsheet block for BT crewmember

Monday March 19th 2001, Author: Conrad Humphreys, Location: United Kingdom
Heading south and surgery to LG FLATRON's navigator, reports skipper Conrad Humphreys.
Last night we had our first trauma incident onboard LG FLATRON, which has left Cian Macarthy with some minor surgery to his left hand. At 0400 GMT on Sunday Cian was passing to leeward of the mainsheet traveller and momentarily put his hand on the mainsheet to steady himself. The sheet slipped from the jaws of the self-tailer and within a split second had taken Cian's hand into the mainsheet turning block, trapping his middle and third finger. Without hesitation he ripped his hand clear. Had he left it there a second or two longer it might have resulted in losing a finger. Having got the lad from west Cork down below into the light, the full extent of the damage became clear.

The middle finger would need a couple of stitches, but he had lost the tip of his third finger almost to the bone. Jared Kreis, an ER medic took a quick look and decided to give Cian a local anaesthetic, before stitching and dressing the wound. The open wound will need fresh dressings every 24 hours to avoid infection and will mean Cian is out of action for the next 5-6 days, possibly longer. Our problem now is not mending the finger, it's keeping Cian down below for a few days. He's already going demented at losing a day's sailing.

The big question is whether we are feeling a little exposed 120 miles south of the fleet. We didn't take a gamble coming this far south so early; we stuck to our game plan that was forecast before we left Sydney. Tasmania has held up many yachts passing close to its shores as any person who has done the Sydney - Hobart will tell you. We stayed offshore choosing to passTasman Island 50 miles to the southeast. It was here that the boats that cut the corner lost miles as the Tasmanian wind devil becalmed those closest to its shores.

With high pressure to the north and a deep stationary low to the south, we have had some fast reaching conditions that have enabled some good daily averages over the last 72 hours. The danger for us is that we cannot find a good southwesterly shift to carry us north to cover the fleet. At the moment, the weather for the next 36 hours sees us sailing down to 51 degrees south. This was to be as far south as we intended to go. At the moment we are sailing high to reduce the distance between us and the rest of the fleet. Time to cash in some mileage, as we say.

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