One of the 12 teams competing in the 40,000-nautical-mile Clipper 2017-18 Round-the-World Yacht Race has diverted to Porto, Portugal, after the team’s skipper suffered a serious injury to his left hand which requires emergency medical attention.

The incident occurred on board Greenings to Skipper David Hartshorn, 52, a British professional sailor, at approximately 23:00 BST on Saturday night on day seven of the opening leg of the Clipper Race, from Liverpool to Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Clipper Race director Mark Light said: ‘The incident occurred around 450NM off the Portuguese coast whilst David was leading a spinnaker drop in breezy conditions. Unfortunately, his left thumb became caught in one of the lines which has resulted in some serious damage.’

Clipper Race yacht Greenings. Credit: onEdition

Clipper Race yacht Greenings. Credit: onEdition

The decision to divert to Porto was made quickly following assessment from the race’s remote medical support physicians at PRAXES as well as the team’s onboard medic, that an urgent operation is required.

Mark added: ‘In this rare situation that the skipper is incapacitated, coxswain-qualified crew members on board each team have received intensive training on how to take control of the yacht alongside the skipper and lead it safely to the nearest port, where further assistance will be provided, which is the case in this situation.’

The yacht is under good control between the Clipper Race coxswain and skipper and all other crew are safe and well. David himself is currently in very good spirits, being constantly monitored, and has been given morphine and antibiotics.

Due to the distance from Porto, which on Sunday morning was estimated to be approximately two days sailing away, options are currently being examined for a medevac to be organised before the yacht reaches land. Once the team arrive into port, they will be met by Clipper Race officials who will advise the next steps to enable the team to continue its race to Uruguay.

Hartshorn diversion

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This opening leg of the race, between Liverpool, UK, and Punta del Este, Uruguay, is the first of eight stages which comprise the world’s biggest round the world yacht race. More than 700 crew are set to compete across the twelve teams in this global endurance test which will take eleven months to complete.

The first teams are expected to cross the finish line in Uruguay around 20 September. The Clipper 2017-18 Race left Liverpool’s Historic Albert Dock on 20 August and will return on Saturday 28 July, 2018.