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Man Overboard on Walkabout IV during the 2024 Round the Island Race

by Caitlin D'Arcy 19 Jun 17:27 BST 15 June 2024
Man Overboard on Walkabout IV during the 2024 Round the Island Race © Caitlin D'Arcy

Photographer Caitlin D'Arcy was down at St Catherine's Point on the Isle of Wight, watching the Round the Island Race, when she watched a man overboard situation unfold. She picks up the story to tell us what happened:

    "The conditions were pretty extreme with large 3-4 metre waves and winds gusting 48mphs - it was a real challenge trying to stand still, let alone take any photos that were in focus!

    "Whilst I was down there, a vessel called Walkabout IV, a Dufour 40, caught my eye. I thought they were experiencing issues with their mainsail when all of a sudden I said to mum, who was watching the race with me, that I thought someone was in the water!

    "It took a while to see the man overboard again as the conditions were so rough, and I wondered whether it had been a fishing buoy when all of a sudden the boat, Walkabout IV, kept going around in large circles, lowered the sails, and I saw a head bobbing around in the water.

    "The Coastguard were luckily on watch at the lighthouse and were keeping an eye on things, but miraculously the crew eventually managed to pull the man back onboard at about 09:38. He must have been in the water for a good 12-15 minutes.

    "A drone pilot down at St Catherine's told me it was gusting 45mph at the time of the event. There was a huge swell and a lot of the boats in the race had retired before reaching St Catherine's. I later spoke to the boat owner, with all crew returned safely back home. He suffered a fractured tibia but, under the circumstances, they got away very lightly.

    "After discovering my photos on my work social media page (Yarmouth Harbour), the owner of Walkabout IV reached out to me and told me that it was their 76-year-old crewmate who had gone overboard. A huge wave had swamped the boat, and when the water cleared they realised that their crewmate Keith was missing and saw him in the water around 15 metres away."

We're very happy to hear that the rescue was successful and a huge thank-you to Caitlin for sharing the photos with us. Stay safe on the water!

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