Men overboard as Extreme Series sees thrills and spills

TWO crew members were thrown into the water in a spectacular collision between two Extreme Sailing Series catamarans, France’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Artemis Racing of Sweden, on another day of drama at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

A record crowd of thousands lining the Isle of Wight shore to witness the stadium racing heard the impact of the crash, which caused sufficient damage to both teams to end their participation and jeopardise their participation in today’s third day of the competition.

Despite their setback, Edmond de Rothschild remain third in the standings, behind two British-helmed rivals, Luna Rossa and The Wave, while Artemis Racing lie eighth out of 12 in the UK leg of the global series.

The incident came just 24 hours after the regatta witnessed a potentially far more dangerous accident, when a 124,000-ton oil tanker collided with a yacht, tearing off its sail and snapping its mast. Two of the Atalanta’s crew had to be rescued from the water but ultimately neither were seriously hurt.

Strong winds yesterday forced one of the other highlights of day two, the XOD class, to be called off, while the Solent Sunbeam fleet also elected not to sail in the conditions.

The White Group dayboat classes did sail, however, with Simon Barter’s Bertie enjoying a second consecutive win in the Sonar fleet, ahead of Josh and Fiscal.

John Raymond’s Harlequin was quickest of the Redwings, ahead of Edmund Peel and James Wilson’s Quail, while Cowes Week veterans Rupert and John Mander steered Men Behaving Badly to a comeback victory in the Flying 15s.

Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey’s Lady Penelope remains in front in the Squib class, despite Duncan and John Grindley’s Surprise winning yesterday.