Skipper of Lion drowned during race
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published its report into the incident on 18 June last year in which Christopher Reddish, skipper of the yacht Lion, died during the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC)’s Morgan Cup Race.
With rough seas and winds forecast to reach Force 9, 38 boats withdrew before the race even started, and only 35 of the 72 remaining entrants that set off from Cowes crossed the finish line at Cherbourg.
The MAIB report found that, during attempts to sort out sail problems, the skipper went overboard while tethered. The crew did not have a nominated substitute skipper and 16 minutes passed before the casualty was recovered to the yacht, where a cardiologist amongst the crew declared him dead. The crew (who included the skipper’s son) had neither trained as a whole unit, or been briefed, in emergency MOB retrieval prior to the race.
While the drowning was deemed accidental, the MAIB report makes recommendations to the RYA, the International Sailing Federation and RORC that include the formal nomination of a substitute in case the skipper is incapacitated, appropriate use of tethers, and training and procedures in unusual MOB situations.
The full MAIB report can be downloaded here.
Photo of Lion courtesy Yachting Monthly