Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Hull & Humber yacht skipper rescued in Pacific

Piers Dudin
Skipper Piers Dudin fell on deck after a huge wave hit the yacht

A rescue mission has been mounted in the Pacific Ocean after the skipper of a Hull-based yacht broke his leg when the vessel was hit by a huge wave.

The Hull & Humber Clipper was 400 miles east of Japan on the last leg of a 35,000-mile round-the-world race when the accident happened on Thursday.

Skipper Piers Dudin was swept across the deck, suffering a broken right leg.

A Japanese coastguard vessel carrying a doctor has reached the Hull & Humber, race organisers said on Friday.

Mr Dudin, who is said to be in good spirits despite his injury, was transferred to the coastguard vessel.

It is now heading towards Japan where it will rendezvous with a larger vessel equipped with a helicopter that will airlift the skipper to the city of Sendai, north of Tokyo.

Piers calmly informed the crew he had broken his leg and was assisted down below, giving calm instructions on what needed to be done
Crew member Tom Salt

Meanwhile, Brendan Hall, the skipper of fellow race yacht Spirit of Australia, which has been shadowing Hull & Humber during the rescue, will take over his duties.

No decision has yet been made on whether the Hull & Humber will continue to race.

Crew member Tom Salt, who was on deck at the time of the incident, said: "Two of the crew were on the high side and got swept across the deck.

"Piers was on the low side of the helm station and was swept into the guard rail and then aft on top of the other crew member who was uninjured.

"We believe that Piers caught the side of his right leg... and the force of the water broke his shin.

"Piers calmly informed the crew he had broken his leg and was assisted down below, giving calm instructions on what needed to be done."

Calm leadership

A spokeswoman for the race organisers said: "The crew reacted quickly and after seeking medical advice through Falmouth Coastguard they applied a leg splint to the injury and administered painkillers.

"It is a testament to Piers' leadership that the crew reacted very well and he remained calm."

The Hull & Humber had been in second place, behind Spirit of Australia, out of the 10 yachts on the final leg of the race from Qingdao in China to San Francisco in the US.

The race started from the Humber estuary on 13 September last year and will return to there in July.



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