Portsmouth, R.I. – US Sailing Team Nacra 17 athlete and Rio 2016 U.S. Olympian Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.) suffered an injury during a training incident on Wednesday, as he and teammate Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.) were preparing for the upcoming Nacra 17 World Championship (September 5-10, 2017) in La Grande Motte, France. Gulari lost part of three fingers on his right hand after he came in contact with the boat’s rigging during a capsize in strong wind conditions. Gulari is currently recovering at a local hospital following surgery, and is expected to return to sailing in approximately four weeks.
“This is an unfortunate setback, but Helena and I will bounce back from this and continue our campaign for Tokyo 2020,” said Gulari, a two-time Moth World Champion and the 2009 US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the year. “I’ll definitely be back on the water as soon as I’m able, which should be in about a month.”
Italian Sailing Team coach Gabriele Bruni provided help to Gulari and Scutt immediately after the accident, with US Sailing Team coach David Howlett, who was assisting with running practice races, arriving a few minutes later. Scutt, who is also a U.S. Olympian, was uninjured in the incident. Scutt sailed the boat back to shore with help from Rio 2016 Olympic gold medalist Santiago Lange of Argentina, who came out to the scene from onshore to assist.
“We are grateful for all the help and support we received today from the Olympic sailing community, and especially from our competitors and coaches who helped us on the water and after we got back to shore,” said Scutt.
Gulari and Scutt will retire from the 2017 Nacra 17 Worlds, and focus on Gulari’s recovery in the coming weeks.
Bora thinks it was the traveller line that he had wrapped around his hand that amputated parts of three fingers on his right hand. The report recommends that wrapping lines around your hand be discouraged (that'll be a tough habit for me to break) and that cut-resistant gloves be worn.
He and Helena are back on the boat - I watched them practice at Bayview YC a couple of weeks ago.
#288054 - 11/16/1701:20 PMRe: Bora Gulari (USA Olympic Multihull) Badly Injured During Training
Boy was that an unfortunate event. I'm interested in what cut resistant gloves would do to help prevent this kind of injury. I probably need to re-read the report but I wasn't clear with whether or not the glove fingers stayed attached with the glove and/or if the tips of his fingers were recoverable - or if the cut resistant gloves would just keep the appendages in a recoverable state. I'm assuming that the tips of the fingers and the tips of the gloves were lost? Following Bora on facebook, there doesn't appear to have been any attempt to reattach anything (maybe it wasn't possible given the circumstances...I'm no Dr.). This injury seems more like the result of extreme compression on the fingers. The traveler line is so thick at the point we use it, I can't imagine it making a cutting action like a sharp device that cut resistant gloves provide some protection from. I'm not clear how cut resistant gloves would actually help.
We all wrap lines on hands - I don't think I could ever get away from that. 17knots of boat speed isn't that dramatic either for a high performance catamaran - even non-foilers.
What about a mechanical fuse (or pair of fuses -with one in each end of the split tail where it connects to the boat) in the traveler line? A short little coupling that connects an eye splice to the hardpoint on the boat that is designed to break when a certain amount of force is created? This wouldn't be some kind of new technology - It would take a little testing and some forethought with regards to corrosion - but should be possible with a little material science and research. From a loading standpoint, there should be a pretty big line-tension window between how hard you can physically pull the traveler line and how much tension starts to cause this kind of damage to your hands....it shouldn't be too hard to come up with a fuse that limits the load to somewhere in between those two points.
Good point Jake. Not being a doctor, and not reading if they were full finger gloves or not it's hard to see the mechanism of injury being a cutting type vs. perhaps a crush/rip/dislocation at the joint.
Obviously being removed from the hand during a capsize would make recovery of the missing pieces very difficult. A cut resistant glove perhaps might keep the fingers salvagable? Although with a crushing type injury it would still be unlikely that they could be reattached.
As to the wrap around the hand, do you keep it wrapped as you reach off to the offset mark? Never been on a foiling cat, but on the slower versions I had typically unwrapped the lines as they are being eased around the top mark to the offset...? But this pitchpole/injury could have happened just as easily on an upwind/downwind leg
...Or downwind. In sketchy overpowered conditions with the spinnaker up (reaching in particular), I'll keep the traveler instead of the main and work the traveler to manage power level...with wraps around my hand to help manage the amount of line that needs to come in and out while my other hand is occupied with the tiller.
I agree with all your points above and I take this report with a healthy douse of skepticism as I don't think they really found a solution to the problem nor did they manage to really identify the problem (not their fault given the lack of clear cut evidence).
One note is Bora was running pretty thin control line in his traveler-6mm. Personally I run 8mm, which I think would have fully avoided the issue IF it was the traveler line. Also note the 2:1 system on the traveler and the very beefy 11:1 or 12:1 mainsheet system (that isn't a stock part I can find anywhere)-this indicates that the loads are very high, as I would expect on a foiler with F18 sized main. Gripping the lines properly is clearly a real issue, and another reason to go with at least 7mm line in the system where you can get away with it.