Team Legato crewman breaks legSlava Sysenko, the 47-year-old Ukrainian crewman aboard Tony Bullimore's Team Legato, fractured his leg earlier today.
The highly experienced yachtsman who is a veteran of a previous round the world race, was knocked over by a large wave which broke over the forward netting as he was struggling to reef down a headsail in the strong head winds. "A large wave knocked me off balance," he told the Legato Race Office over the satellite phone. "It pushed me over, but my foot was caught under the headsail and I twisted it badly."
According to Team Legato's skipper who is also the boat's medical expert, Slava has broken his left tibia at a point where the bone had been broken in a previous accident some years ago. After being helped back into the shelter of the cockpit, Tony Bullimore applied an anti-inflammatory bandage and splint to the leg, and the Ukrainian is now resting in Tony's bunk in the central god-pod.
Tony's first thought was to head directly for Gibraltar just 13 miles ahead, but Sysenko, who has been a key member of Bullimore's team ever since Team legato was updated in Bristol Docks, will not countenance a stop.
"No. I am determined to finish the race. There will be no more stops." He told the Legato Race Office this afternoon. "The leg is well strapped up and I am not in much pain. I can stay here for another 3-4 days. I do not want to get off the boat."
Tony Bullimore confirmed "For the moment, I am prepared to bow to Slava's wishes, but if conditions get too bad or I believe that the pain or discomfort he may be feeling gets worse, I will have no hesitation in heading for the nearest port. My first priority is the safety and welfare of my crew, but I fully understand Slava's wishes. As circumnavigations go, this has been one of the toughest. He wants to complete this challenge as much as any of us and it is this spirit that epitomises the strength of character that runs right through this Team Legato crew."
Slava Sysenko who comes from Bristol, is a veteran of the 1993/4 Whitbread Round the World Race when he crewed aboard the first Ukrainian entry 'Hetman Sahaydachny.' He has remained in the West ever since, carving out a career and reputation as a top professional yachtsman. He has also completed four transatlantic crossings, the Round Europe Race and Rum Race in 1995/6. In 1997 he competed in the Maxi One Design world championship series which took in the Round Europe Race, Gotland Runt, Cowes Week and Fastnet classic.
Leading positions at 15:00 GMT 10/04/01
1. Club Med Finished Marseilles
2. Innovation Explorer Finished Marseilles
3. Team Adventure Finished Marseilles
4. Warta Polpharma Finished Marseilles
5. Team Legato + 698 miles