This month CNN Mainsail look at the dangers that sailors face and how they stay safe as they compete in some of the most extreme races around the world.
The tragic 1979 Fastnet Race was a turning point for safety whilst racing at sea. Out of 303 starters, only 86 yachts finished, 194 retired, 24 abandoned (five of which were “lost believed sunk”), there were 18 fatalities (15 yachtsmen and 3 rescuers).
History repeated itself in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart race where out of 115 starters, only 44 yachts finished, 66 retired, 55 sailors had to be airlifted and 6 yachtsmen lost their lives.
Shirley speaks to Alex Thomson, Mike Golding, Conrad Coleman, Sam Goodchild, John “Steamer” Stanley and Mike Mottle all of whom have experienced first hand the harsh realities of sea survival and rescue. She also visits the University of Portsmouth to find out what happens to the body when it is immersed in a freezing ocean; unexpectedly or not and speaks to Simon Jinks and Alistair Hackett from Ocean Safety.
One thing It is very clear; there is no point in carrying state of the art sea survival equipment if you don’t know how to use it and are not trained in sea survival.
When competition sailing turns into survival
Sailors experience the perils of capsizing
How long can you survive in freezing water?