Big Wednesday at Cowes

Lynsey Thomas brings news of fresh disaster

Thursday August 9th 2001, Author: Lynsey Thomas, Location: United Kingdom
Two boats sunk, two dismasted, four towed to safety and one sailor with minor head injuries, make up today's final count of Cowes week disasters. After warnings of potential gusts up to 40 knots, all bar a few of the smaller boats chose to stay at home yesterday. Today the forecast was not quite so extreme, and yet the conditions were the same if not a little windier with gusts of 28 knots reported at the Brambles. But then everything looks so much better when the sun is shining...

Jasmine a Sonar GBR534, skippered by John Downes, sank today at the eastern end of Osborne Bay. Top marine photographer Rick Tomlinson was first at the scene. He explained: "I saw the smoke of an orange flare and then noticed a boat that was semi-submerged with people swimming around.

"I went and picked up two of them and by the time I had done that the RNLI had arrived and took them all to shore." Tomlinson has previously been awarded an RNLI bronze award for his heroic antics at sea when he rescued two fishermen from the North Irish coast when it was too rough for the life boat to go in.

Kingfisher GBR Z10, owned by Ian Andrew of Southsea also sank today, and is unfortunately the second boat to sink within the Victory class this week. The Class 2 boat Danebury First Challenger helmed today by Richard Bagnall, stopped racing and came to the crew's rescue after they had watched them do a Chinese gybe off of Sunsail buoy near Bramble Bank and begin to fill with water.

The boat was sunk within three seconds and the only thing left showing was the Windex. Danebury First Challenger owned by Ernst Peich, owner of Danebury Vineyards, one of the supporting sponsors of Skandia Life Cowes Week have been into the protest room and have received redress for their rescue.

Two Redwings were dismasted and three Flying Fifteens had to be towed to safety along with a Squib after the wind over tide conditions had stirred up the sea filling them with water. Finally a crew member on board XOD 76 Myrtle had to be taken ashore after sustaining a head injury.

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