Hectic week with crew injured after huge waves batter yacht

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Latest news - Derry-Londonderry-Doire is fighting to make up time after a detour to leave injured crew member Michelle Porter to port. But they’re doing just that and are buoyed by news that Michelle’s injuries are not as bad as feared - torn ligaments and bruising. Skipper Sean McCarter tells the tale . . .

What a week it’s been on board the Clipper 70 race yacht, Derry-Londonderry-Doire, in the famous round the world race.

Our brief but enjoyable time in Cape Town came to an end last Monday morning as we slipped lines and headed out for the parade of sail in front of Table Mountain before the Leg 3 race start in Table Bay.

A few days in to the race, exhausted after a long and windy night on deck, I slumped into my bunk at dawn knowing the crew were in control, now they could see the house-sized waves coming at them.

After what seemed like ten seconds’ sleep, I woke to the strange sensation of the boat going very fast but lying on its side. I jumped out of my bunk, dodging tool boxes and floor boards that were flying through the air from one side of the boat to the other, and walked along the wall to get to my wet gear.

Next was the call that no skipper wants to hear: ‘MEDIC!’

I jumped on deck, made sure the helmsman was in control, if a little paler than usual, and then went to the two casualties. First was our medic, Susie Redhouse, who diagnosed herself with a possible broken arm. We got her down below and then turned to round the world crew member Michelle Porter, who was adamant that she was ok but obviously couldn’t move her left arm and was suffering from equally large doses of pain and shock.

Once we were all down below and out of harm’s way, we examined Michelle and concluded her shoulder was probably dislocated or possibly fractured in the upper humorous. We began preparing to administer morphine by IV drip, all the while the boat pitched and rolled in mountainous seas.

It was incredible to watch Susie with her potentially broken arm now in sling, caring for Michelle with total professionalism and not a thought of her own pain.

It became clear after a 12 hour resting period recommended by our online doctors that Susie’s arm was not as bad as previously thought.However Michelle would not be able to make the three week trip to Albany and would have to be dropped off at the nearest harbour of Port Elizabeth, 280 miles to the North.

Update by email on Sunday - How’s it going? All good here. It’s nice to be pointing in the right direction with a kite up doing 15kts!

A bit sad not to have Michelle but she was in a lot of pain and we were unsure how serious it was. Just got word today that it is torn ligaments and bruising so not the end of the world. She is in good form and already talking about meeting us in Albany.

We had a crew meeting today and reset our goals for this race. We are as always aiming to be safe with no injuries. We are going to do our best not to be last boat in.

We are going to try our hardest to win the Ocean Sprint weather permitting and we are going to try and be in and tied up by the 27th.

Please let everyone know that we are all well and in good form, pushing hard as usual. Thanks to all for the support and see you all soon. Sean.