Yachting team uses staple-gun to fix up slashed sailor, completes race

Nat sez, "You're on a racing yacht, 650 miles from the finish line of the fifth leg of an around-the-world race. Your mast breaks, you send a team member up to cut free the sail. He slashes at the rigging but also himself, and blood drips down the mast. He comes down white with blood loss and with a massive wound. What do you do? 'After talking to our team doctor we decided to staple him together. We took out the staple gun and put five staples in him and now he's as good as new, I think.' Nope, that's not what I would have reached for either. I wonder whether the team doctor is also the ship's carpenter?"

Groupama completed leg 5 last night with 20 points for third place, ensuring they remain in contention for the overall prize.

The French boat leapfrogged leg 5 winners Puma into second place overall, 20 points behind Telefonica, who are facing a hearing into allegations they carried an extra sail on leg 4 into Auckland.

Yachting: NZ sailor aboard Groupama seriously injured

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  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t you use superglue, in an emergency, to close up a cut? 

    Maybe he didn’t want them trying to stitch up a wound in violently rolling seas? 
    “OW! OW! OW! OW! ow! ow! ow! ow! ow! OW! OW! OW! OW!” 

    1. You can, but only if it is relatively small. Anything requiring more than a couple of stitches or that’s bleeding profusely (and this sounds like it qualifies under both) requires something physical to hold the wound closed. Stitching can take a long time under the best circumstances, and can be pretty dicey if you don’t know what you’re doing or the environment isn’t stable.

    2. Seconding Ms. Dittrich.  We keep superglue in the house explicitly for the purpose of closing cuts.   As long as the cut is under an 1/8″ deep, it usually works just fine.  Stigs like a mofo going in, but pops out as the wound heals.   

    3. Superglue was apparently used during the Vietnam war as a means of quickly closing wounds- though they now use a slightly different compound that’s less toxic. The bonding of superglue is catalysed by water either in the air or your skin.

      Just something to think about next time you accidentally glue something to your finger…

  2. You know, this is how Yacht Racing goes. People condemn sailing as “not a real sport,” but it’s one of the few (only?) sports I know of where people regularly keep on playing in the midst of a hurricane-level storm. And when it comes to medicine, you’re on your own buddy. Football players are literally feet away from waiting medics in case they get hurt, but when you’re 500 miles from the nearest land? Hopefully you can get a real doctor on the radio, but you’re doing the surgery yourself, buddy. There are solo sailors who set their own broken legs because no one’s out there to help them.

    1. I think it’s the ‘losing an eye’ aspect that gets in the way of peoples appreciation of the great fun to be had with such games.

    2. I wasn’t aware that injury potential was sufficient to make an activity into a sport.

      On the bright side, drinking contests and Russian roulette are now sports.

      I think we call entirely too many things sports.

    3.  because no one’s out there to help them.

      ..until millions of dollars of taxpayers money is spent saving them. Sailing is a selfish pursuit of people who will purposefully put themselves in the danger of such weather because it could win them the race. Then when they fuck up they expect other people to put their own safety on the line to save them.

      Also, it isn’t a real sport as proven by the fat old fucks who go in the races… do they look like sports people to you?

      1. The coastguard and SOLAS directives are not there purely to protect the rich and stupid. Where im from *everyone* answers a may-day. You go out on the ocean you do not expect to be saved, you are however, expected to save. 

        Skippering a boat is understanding when a risk is tactical and when it is reckless, the first priority of command on a boat is the safety of the crew. 
        For every testosterone filled sea-jock willing to cut up a ten thousand tonne tanker to get a better line on a mark there are many more conciousness  folk who safely cruse, race and trade on the seas – their stories don’t seem to raise as much praise as the occasional disasters raise ire. 

        I have never once seen a fat man on any proper racing boat, just as i have never seen any of the kids kicking a ball about down the road in an opening line-up at Wembley.
        In closing, while i respect and in some cases share your anger at those rich and stupid who own boats they barley understand and hire others to move them I must speak out against your “Sailing is a selfish pursuit of people who will purposefully put themselves in the danger of such weather because it could win them the race” This is largely untrue, unfair and hurtful to the many sensible and able seamen and women i have worked with in my time. 

        1. Cut up a ten thousand ton tanker? I hope you meant “cut off”. Though I have no idea what kind of heavy equipment they bring to those races.

      2.  In yacht racing, there are no fat people. The athletes that race sail boats are in great shape, and have to be in order to do what they do.

        Perhaps you have sailing confused with power boating?

    4.  My sister is a member of a Blind Sailing team. Every single member is blind – not just legally blind but completely blind. if they suspect you might have limited sight, you get blindfolded during competition sailing.

      So far, they’re all still alive.

    5. Even inshore “round-the-cans” racing is pretty physical- the big yachts recruit athletes from sports like rowing and rugby that require a lot of upper body strength as “grinders” (the people who operate the hand-cranked winches), to say nothing of the skill, strength and endurance required to handle sail changes on a bouncing foredeck .

  3. Pretty smart. I wouldn’t have thought of it, but in retrospect I should have — when I had my appendix out I woke up to a fresh row of large metal staples down my side.

      1. Ah of course. So, to sum up the article, person uses object for its intended purpose. Newsworthy!

  4. I would imagine this isn’t really out of place or novel. A team doctor would in fact pack a MEDICAL staple gun in its medical kit. This is not a staple gun the way you or I could order it but one designed to staple wounds (surgical or otherwise).

      1.  Yeah, I was trying to imagine how a normal staple gun would help… you’d prolly need the staples to hit bone or something if you wanted em to stay in ; )

        1. Normal staple guns can’t put carbon fiber back together. AFAIK, sailors don’t even attempt to repair their boats at sea if they break.  They just seal off the bulkhead and pump it out every so often.

    1. This story reminds me of this famous and harrowing moment from Australian TV. In a State of Origin rugby league match, NSW centre Mick DeVere needed a quick patch upon the sidelines…  This was broadcast live.

      1. So, it only goes for 7 seconds here, but I was watching that game. The camera stayed on this for a full minute of closeups as a staple jammed and the doc had to wrench the gun and bent staple out of his face. You can see the start of the debacle right at the end of the clip.

  5. You’re on a racing yacht, 650 miles from the finish line of the fifth leg of an around-the-world race. Your mast breaks, you send a team member up to cut free the sail. He slashes at the rigging but also himself, and blood drips down the mast. He comes down white with blood loss and with a massive wound. What do you do?

    I wake up.

    1.  OPEN CHEST
      TAKE OUT RAINBOW TURTLE
      SLICE NECK OF TURTLE
      OFFER SACRIFICE TO SEA GOD

      OFFER TURTLE TO SEA GOD

      The storm magically dissapears as well as your wound.  Which way would you like to sail (N,NW,W,SW,S,SE,E,NE,U,D)

  6. “You’re on a racing yacht, 650 miles from the finish line of the fifth leg of an around-the-world race. Your mast breaks, you send a team member up to cut free the sail. He slashes at the rigging but also himself, and blood drips down the mast. He comes down white with blood loss and with a massive wound. What do you do?” The sharks will feed well tonight! Arrrrrr!

  7. Some years ago there was the story of the sailor soloing across the Pacific with a gangrenous toe and a pair of bolt cutters. 

  8. It’s called “Sailing”, not “Yachting”. The Olympic Committee will agree with me, as will the tens of American Gold Medalists in Sailing (and hundreds of the combined silver and bronze medalists).

    I sliced my foot open during a race, waited for the tack, then went below, washed it off with a bottle of drinking water, wrapped it in some duct tape and we kept on going. Came in 2nd that day. The only time I’ve ever seen a sailor leave a race is if they physically fell off the FRONT of the boat and hit their head on the way back (aka keel hauled), and also a special case where a college age girl drank way too much in Galveston the night before and had dehydration induced vertigo when it was 95F+ outside with little shade right before a 27 mile race. She was medevac’d off the water and we finished the race without her.

    Sailing is a great sport, and there are definitely some risks involved when piloting a 2000-40,000lb vessel, but it’s a lot of fun and definitely worth it. Just don’t call it yachting.

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