Even though the regatta has yet to begin it was a day of drama here at the 2007 Etchells World Championship in Cowes. Whilst preparing for the start of today’s practise race GBR1353 Arbitrator, helmed by Graham Bailey with Stephen Bailey and David Heritage crewing, was seriously damaged in a port/starboard collision with GBR987 Bedrock.
The damage to Arbitrator was severe and the boat was initially feared to be in danger of sinking. Graham Bailey takes up the story – “The incident happened in the pre-start about three minutes before the gun. We were on starboard and we realised that the port tack boat hadn’t seen us so we began to tack to avoid them.
The other boat tried to bear away round the back of us but it was too late and they simply accelerated into us, hitting us and then ripping through the aft quarter. The immediate call was for lifejackets as the boat was rapidly filling but fortunately the damage was all in the aft tank and the bulkhead held.
Photo by Fiona Brown