Cowes RNLI came to the rescue of Galadriel off Newtown. Picture by George Chastney.
LIFEBOAT crews were kept busy on the day of the Round the Island Race when yachtsmen — both competing and non-competing — had to contend with a strong south-westerly.
The fleet of almost 1,650 boats battled choppy seas with one-and-a-half to two-metre swells and windspeeds of around 15 to 20 knots.
By lunchtime, four incidents had been reported by the race management team at the Island Sailing Club.
There were two head injuries and one spinal injury but later organisers said all three competitors were treated and released from hospital.
The crew of Aqua Sulis, a Bridgedeck catamaran, had to be plucked from the water after capsizing off Newtown Creek.
Cowes RNLI lifeboat was involved in no fewer than eight incidents, including pulling two yachts off the Brambles Bank, first the Merlin and later the Dara.
Besides dealing with dismastings in the morning, crewman Chris Adams used his first aid training to tend to a yachtsman with chest pains prior to being airlifted to hospital from Lymington lifeboat by Coastguard helicopter.
Another alert involved the 52ft ocean racer Galadriel, with a broken rudder and a smoking engine off Newtown.
It proved to be a joint exercise with the Severn class Yarmouth RNLI lifeboat putting two crew aboard the stricken boat.
The Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat was called to three incidents in south westerly gales of Force 6.
Their first shout was to assist the 45ft yacht Polly’s Kettle, which had snapped its mast one mile off Ventnor, and then to a Swan 44, three miles off Shanklin. A crew member on board had suffered a severe head injury and had to be air lifted to hospital.
The third was to another yacht called Galataea, one mile off Ventnor, with an elderly man with a severe eye injury from a collision with a tackle block. He and his partner were transferred to Ventnor Haven where paramedics and the Ventnor Coastguard were waiting.