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Scuttlebutt Poll:
Classic boat regatta accidents

(September 24-26, 2008) In Scuttlebutt 2688, there was the following story:

Cannes, France (September 23, 2008) - Wilf Tolhurst was killed today when two British yachts collided in 20-knot north-easterly winds and confused seas on the opening day of the Regates Royales in the Bay of Cannes today. Tolhurst, 64, with his son as one of the other seven crew, was at the helm of his 8-Metre Safir and said to be trying to avoid a right of way boat, British America's Cup boss and Admiral's Cup team captain Graham Walker's 1912-built 65-foot Nathaniel Herreshoff-designed Rowdy. At 35 tons, Rowdy would be over twice the weight of Safir.

The 8-Metre was dismasted and Walker's bowsprit, which was locked between Safir's mast and its forestay, was snapped. Making the announcement, Jean-Claude Montesinos, president of the Yacht Club de Cannes, said that, although Tolhurst was lifted off and rushed to hospital, he was thought to have died instantly, hit by the mast and boom as it crashed down. -- Stuart Alexander, The Independent, (click here for complete story)

Based on this story, Scuttlebutt reader Bruce Bates of Durham NH asked the question:

Why is it that terrible collisions (with serious injuries) happen with alarming frequency at classic boat regattas?
  • 2.63% - Lack of familiarity with the racing rules.
  • 12.28% - Lack of boat handling skills in close quarters.
  • 28.95% - Lack of familiarity with the handling characteristics of heavy deep-keeled vessels.
  • 56.14% - All of the above.

  • Click here to read the comments.

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