Casualty transferred to hopital in Japan

The skipper of a Clipper Round-the-world racing yacht has been transferred by helicopter to Japan after breaking his leg.

Hull & Humber skipper, Piers Dudin, has undergone surgery and is reportedly in good spirits and even learning a few words of Japanese. He is likely to remain in hospital in Japan for several more days before repatriation to the UK for further treatment.

The incident occured on the tenth day of the race’s trans-Pacific leg when a large wave hit the boat, causing the skipper to be swept down the deck.

Hull & Humber crew member Tom Salt was on deck at the time. He says, “Two of the crew were on the high side and got swept across the deck – one stopping by the helm station and the other at the starboard quarter.

“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 around the forward starboard stanchion of the pushpit and the force of the water broke his shin.

“Kevin (Austen) was on the helm, but managed to keep control and did not lose contact with the wheel. Piers calmly informed the crew he had broken his leg and was assisted down below, giving calm instructions on what needed to be done.”

Following the incident and as one of the nearest vessels, Spirit of Australia was called upon to shadow Hull & Humber as they headed west to rendezvous with the Japanese Coastguard. With conditions safe enough for a boat to boat transfer, skipper Brendan Hall moved on to Hull & Humber to assist with the evacuation and has now taken charge of the English entry for the remainder of Race 7.

In other Clipper Race news, a new skipper has been appointed to take over the Cork Clipper team after the yacht struck a rock and had to be abandoned.

Twnety-nine-year-old Hannah Jenner takes over at the helm of Cork following the grounding of the original yacht during the race to Singapore from Western Australia. A replacement yacht has been chartered and the Cork crew, who have been racing on board the other nine yachts of the Clipper 09-10 fleet since the incident, will take delivery of their new vessel in Panama at the beginning of May.