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Global yacht race crew thank NSRI Port Elizabeth rescuers

by Julia Wall-Clarke 13 Nov 2013 12:47 GMT 13 November 2013
NSRI Clipper Race Rescue © Clipper Ventures

R 50,000 donated to NSRI by Clipper Race organisers

Late last week following a ferocious storm, the South African National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) station at Port Elizabeth launched its rescue vessels twice in separate incidents, to provide assistance to injured crew members taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Australian David Griffin was taken off the 70 foot ocean racing yacht Mission Performance with an injured calf after becoming impaled on a cleat during the same violent storm that rolled competing boat Derry~Londonderry~Doire, resulting in British woman Michelle Porter suffering a suspected broken arm. Both are now recovering well after being brought ashore by crews from the NSRI station at Port Elizabeth to receive treatment at Greenacres Hospital; Michelle's injury proved less serious than feared but was still painful with severe bruising and torn ligaments in her upper arm.

Legendary yachtsman, the Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: "As an experienced yachtsman who has completed four circumnavigations and more than five decades of sailing, I am a real advocate of the crucial role that organisations such as the NSRI play in the support and protection of sailors."

"As an expression of our gratitude and a recognition of the excellent service they provided David Griffin and Michelle Porter, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is pleased to be donating 50,000 Rand to the continuation of Port Elizabeth's NSRI service."

Ian Gray, Station Commander of National Sea Rescue, Station 6 in Port Elizabeth commented on the donation saying: "We are very grateful to Sir Robin and the Clipper Race for making this unexpected donation and to David and Michelle for their personal thanks and recognition.

"The National Sea Rescue Institute is run by volunteers and relies on donations such as these to be able to continue to service sailors such as David and Michelle. It is great to see them both recovering well and we wish them and the rest of the Clipper Race crews safe onward journeys."

The twelve-strong Clipper Race fleet competes in the world's longest ocean race at 40,000 miles, crewed by 670 amateur sailors representing 40 nationalities in the 11-month race that visits six continents. The race left Cape Town at the beginning of last week and were headed to Albany, Western Australia in Race 4 of its marathon journey when winds of more than 50 knots gusting to 90 knots lashed the fleet as they headed south in the Agulhas Current.

For more information on the Clipper Race, see www.clipperroundtheworld.com.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was established in 1967 when it acquired its first rescue craft. Manned predominantly by volunteers, the charity was inspired by the UK Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) after a South African rescued by the RNLI in the English Channel campaigned to set up an equivalent institution when 17 fishermen drowned in a terrible storm in 1966. For more information on the NSRI, see www.nsri.org.za.

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