Things that go bump

Rough seas for Spirit of Hungary have seen Conrad Colman take a tumble, now suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder and large bruise to his face. 

Emails from the boats MAR 22, 2015 10:53

Conrad Colman blogs from the latest incident on boart Spirit of Hungary:

"It’s like being on a rodeo horse or on a rollercoaster, it’s just intense. It requires 100% concentration, not only helming the boat but when you move around. The movement is so violent. There are no wave pattern at the moment, they are quite short and close together making the ride uncomfortable”

These words are not mine, coming instead from one of the SCA women in the Volvo Ocean Race, but it perfectly described our afternoon yesterday. As expected the wind built from the NW with the approach of the concentrated depression that has been catching us up these last few days. Finally the cold front broke over with with 40 knot gusts and a deluge of rain that flattened the seas and turned the crests a smokey white.

There is always an abrupt change in the wind direction following a cold front and the new wind from the SW allowed us to ease the sheets and make tracks to the north on a broad reach. However, as in the quote above, the boat slammed horribly in the confused waves left by the intersection of the new wind with the older established wave pattern. We were trying to avoid the boat from taking a beating and instead I took one myself. Coming in fromt the cockpit a particularly large slam wrenched away my slippery hand hold and I pitched head first into the bilge.

I landed on my left shoulder and my head leaving the former dislocated and a large egg on my forehead. I screamed for Nandor who rushed from his bunk to help me sit up, only for my head to turn and I was forced to lay back in confused agony. Having previously dislodged my right shoulder and had it surgically repaired in 2012, I only hope that I can avoid that fate again with my new injury. I have good range of movement but significant pain and a significant sense of weakness in the joint. Thankfully we have pretty clement conditions lined up for the next few days but Nandor will have to do the manoeuvres solo as I am only capable of easing sheets, not winding the winches for now. It will be good training for his Vendée Globe but here’s hoping for a speedy recovery on my end. I’m not happy to be consigned to the role of balast, and in pain to boot!

Nandor Fa explains how the incident panned out:

I took off the dry suit, went to bed, and was about to arrange the pillow, when I heard a huge crash and wailing from C's side. I jumped as I was, C was laying on the floor in a twisted pose, in silence. He wasn't wailing any more.

I carefully tried to arrange him - the way we had learned - while talking to him. He was already conscious, but not completely. He had a bruise on his forehead, and couldn't lift his left arm.

Little by little I realize the boat had stuck into a wave, his fleet slipped, and he came into the cabin with the head first, instead of the feet. We just suspect that his forelock must have touched ground first, then his shoulders, and arms. We needed half an hour to check every part of him, and identify that nothing's been broken or twisted, just hurts.

On his forehead he has a hump the size of half an egg. When I took the photo, he was already able to give a weak smile.

I gave him a cup of tea with honey that I'd made for myself, and I let him rest on the floor for an hour.