Crew safe after boat sinks in Antigua Bermuda Race

Race Chair, Les Crane's Farr PH 56, Monterey at the start of the first.

HAMILTON, Bermuda, (CMC) – The six-member crew aboard a Bermudian boat competing in the Antigua Bermuda Race have been rescued after it sank 200 miles south of here early on Wednesday, organisers said.

The Monterey, skippered by race chairman Les Crane, reported around 5 am that the boat was taking on water, according to the Bermuda Maritime Operations (BMO).

The crew abandoned the 57-foot boat and were safely transferred by life raft to another competitor, Esprit de Corps IV, in the 935-nautical-mile race, which attracted 21 yachts, including three Bermuda entries.

“The cause of water ingress was unknown as crew prepared to abandon to another race participant, Esprit de Corps IV,” a BMO statement said.

“Just before 7 am, the skipper of Monterey reported that the vessel was now nearly sunk with crew continuing towards Bermuda.”

The race was organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week and started after the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week.

Leatrice Oatley, commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, said: “We are saddened by the news, but we know past commodore Les Crane has completed many miles of ocean crossings and as skipper we know his decision is based on the safety of his crew. We are glad all are safe.”

The race was added to the calendar to whet the appetite of sailing enthusiasts ahead of the 35th America’s Cup, the sport’s showpiece, which gets under way here in nine days’ time.

Two of the challengers vying for a place in the finals against Oracle, the American defending champions, suffered damage when their racing yachts collided during practice in the Great Sound on Tuesday.

Land Rover BAR “ran straight into the back” of Team New Zealand, creating a “pretty good” dent on the inside of the Kiwis’ port hull, a spokesman said.

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