Sailing: Crash...men overboard

Catamarans Groupama (green) and Team Aberdeen Singapore (blue and white) collide in an incident that occurred during the fifth race of the third day of the Extreme Sailing Series on 22 February 2014.

As the boats bunched up approaching the finishing line at The Promontory@Marina Bay, Groupama skipper Franck Cammas was focused on completing the race.

Cammas had another race to go on the penultimate day of the opening leg of the eight-stop Extreme Sailing Series 2014, and was looking to end the day on a good note.

Just at that moment, the hull of Team Aberdeen Singapore flew past his head and landed on top of his Extreme 40 catamaran.

Said the 41-year-old Frenchman: "I didn't see (the other boat coming as) I was looking forward, then a big mass came through right on our faces and it was crazy.

"We came in towards the finishing line with less speed while (Aberdeen Singapore) caught a big gust, couldn't control their boat at the moment and came through ours."

The incident happened during the fifth race of the third day of the event, just before 5pm, in front of an estimated crowd of 1,000 gathered in the hospitality areas and along the shoreline near the finish.

Three Groupama sailors jumped into the water during the collision, as their mast broke with an almighty crack.

Safety boats immediately converged on the two catamarans, which were then towed to the technical area before the final race of the day went off about 45 minutes later.

No guest sailors were on board any of the boats yesterday, and only Groupama's mainsail trim Tanguy Cariou sustained minor facial injuries, according to organisers, as he was on the trampoline between the two hulls when the Singapore-flagged team came crashing through.

In a statement, Team Aberdeen Singapore skipper Nick Moloney said: "It was a big incident and looked very dramatic, but that is part of racing.

"We are glad everyone is okay and hope we can all get back on the water tomorrow." Cammas agreed.

Wearing a sheepish smile, he told The New Paper: "Fortunately this is a small boat compared to the offshore boats. If no one is injured it's okay."

Cammas said the team should be able to race today with a new mast, although Team Aberdeen Singapore were still assessing the extent of the boat's damage at press time.

Meanwhile, Alinghi maintained its lead in the 12-boat fleet with 163 points, with podium finishes in five races yesterday.

However, defending champions The Wave, Muscat moved up one position to second after winning three of six races.

The Singapore leg of the Extreme Series, the first in the eight-stop global event, will end today.

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