Fear at the 66th ” Tre Golfi” (a 150-mile offshore race along the route Naples – Ponza – Li Galli – Capri). The seven crew members of Filippo Gazzerro’s Salona 37 Le Pelican (sail number ITA 16373, photo above) had a very hard time of it: at 2.50am on Sunday morning, following a collision with a bettolina (a small boat that transports goods or liquids to larger ships in the port area) between Ventotene and Naples, the boat sank in less than three minutes.
Fortunately, the Organising Committee had decided to make it compulsory to take a self-inflating raft, although this is not required by category 3 of the World Sailing regulations for safety equipment.
After putting the life raft in the water and embarking all 7 crew members, they were immediately taken on board the ship itself, under the control of the Harbour Master – Coast Guard. The entire crew was then transferred to Naples on board the ship, no one was injured.
The conditions were particularly challenging, with a two-metre wave and we were sailing upwind on the left-hand side,” said one of the crew members who was on deck at the time of the accident, “We found ourselves in a critical situation in a few moments, with a small boat sailing between Naples and Ventotene just a few metres away from us, and the impact was inevitable. We managed to get the life raft overboard and see our boat sink in just under three minutes”.
On board Le Pelican was the Turin skipper Stefano Gnech, who told Corriere della Sera that the race was supposed to be a training session in preparation for the legendary Fastnet Race, where the close-knit team should participate as the only Italian team. “Four of us ended up in the water,” he said, “I went under but managed to cut the sail to resurface, three others were asleep and woke up in the water.
In January, the crew had taken part in safety courses, including a drill that simulated falling into the water while dressed. The experience paid off.
There was no chance of recovering the Salona 37 Le Pelican (11.29 x 3.60m), one of the boats that we also got to know in our TAG Heuer VELA Cup circuit.
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