Yes... The WPNSA is back to normal. The memory of the fight for gold
in both the RS:X Men's fleet and the women's will live on. It was, all agree,
an awesome regatta.
Probably the toughest yet in the RS:X windsurfing fleet's run into the 2012 Olympic Games.
And yet... not everyone has grabbed their flight and taken off.
One sailor remains grounded under Doctor's orders for at least another 10 days.
The breeze was up, 20-25 knots in fact, and the RS:X silver fleet at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta were deep into R8. Three silverados were negotiating the first slalom mark in quick succession. First to gybe was Luke Baillie (AUS) in 6th. He blew it. Second, Jamie Ingram (GBR) in 7th, he nailed it. The perfectly executed planing gybe saw him exiting the turn at full speed.
Luke was in the water... On the racing line... There was no time to think. No time to take avoiding action. Jamie flew on. Struck Luke a glancing blow on the right temple. His head whipped over. He was out cold... Face down in the water...
Just behind in 8th Marcantonio Baglione (ITA) was in hot persuit. He heard Jamie shouting... HELP, HELP... In a split second, Marco had bailed out. Leaving his board on a full plane, he dived in to help Jamie save Luke. They grabbed him and swam him to the nearest board. By this time Luke had regained consciousness and was soon on a safety boat on the way to shore.
A medical exam followed. This was the diagnosis. Fractured temple. Torn muscles to the right side of the neck due to whiplash. Plus a good dose of concussion.
Prescription... Rest and recuperation. No physical activity for 6 weeks. No flight to anywhere, least of all home, for at least 14 days.
Luke takes up the story...
"I had quite a good first race where I had a third which I was pretty happy about. In the second, on the last downwind, I was in 8th. I was a little disappointed about that. I started really pushing myself. I hit the last lay line perfectly. So perfectly in fact, I was up to 6th. I snuck inside Jamie in the final gate to blast towards the first slalom mark.
I stepped out of the back footstrap and somehow slipped and lost my gear.
From what I have been told, when I popped up, Jamie hit me bang on the temple, full planning in 20 knots of wind.
I was knocked out cold and laid face down in the water unconscious for apparently 7 seconds.
Jamie and Marco rescued me. They dragged me to my board and hailed a jury boat to assist and then a safety boat came and got me, I was taken to shore and straight to first aid to wait for the ambulance. In hospital, I had a CT scan to my head and an x-ray of my right shoulder.
They showed that I had fractured my temple and torn all of the muscles on the right side of my neck due to whiplash...
I was lucky there was no damage to the brain.
As for my shoulder the xrays showed nothing. I was released from hospital a day later to be told no physical activity for 6 weeks
All I can say is thank god I am still alive without the quick thinking of my friends on the day I could have died so thank you to
Marco said... "Luke is a good mate of mine so I was really scared. Of course, no matter who was involved, I would have saved him... But to think that I saved the life of my mate makes me smile a bit more ;)"
The lion's share of the attention always goes to the fight for supremacy at the head of the fleet. And rightly so.
Back in the silver fleet, the guys have a dream. They have eyes only for 2016. They are the unsung heroes of Olympic windsurfing. They race not for immediate glory. They race for what the future might bring. That does not make the competition any less intense. But when the cry for help comes, they stand as one.
Well done Guys...