Coastguard called to 75 Round the Island Race incidents

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A MAN was airlifted to hospital with serious head injures and several other people were hurt after a day of chaos for sailors in the Round the Island Race.

Solent Coastguard crews were called out to 75 incidents today and the unit’s watch assistant, Audrey Pedersen, said around 68 of these were related to the race around the Isle of Wight.

Crews from the Solent team and Isle of Wight Coastguard were joined by volunteer RNLI crews and coastguard rescue helicopters.

A scrambled helicopter took the seriously injured man straight to Southampton General Hospital for treatment and also rescued two people from the top of a capsized catamaran.

The choppy waters threw numerous people overboard resulting in several injuries, a host of capsized boats, broken masts, yachts which lost control of their steering, and many more problems for the mariners.

With winds of between 20 and 29 knots – force five to seven – Ms Pedersen said the weather conditions was undoubtedly the main problem on the sea.

She said: ‘The vast majority of those out today were very experienced sailors, the problems they came across were definitely down to weather conditions and poor visibility, and the sea was rough.

‘When there is a big race of this kind we always expect some incidents, but nowhere near as many as we had today.’

There were 1,908 boats taking part in the 50 mile race which is celebrating its 80th year.