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.
I've seen some pics of that block before, I believe it's a brand new 12:1 Harken design. His was probably a pre-production model since I don't think it is for sale yet. We also use a 12:1 on the F18 (Ronstan) and it's great once you get used to it.
Looking at the pic again, what are those orange lines which seem to run across the traveller?
I remember when we went from 8:1 to 10:1 on the I20 and I thought the extra line management was insane. I resisted going to 10:1 for quite a while and when I finally broke down and went to 10:1, I would actually switch back to the 8:1 if the wind was expected to be light. That said, I imagine the foilers don't ease the main as much between up and downwind so it's probably not as big of a deal. The crew is handling the main upwind and they have two hands to deal with it all.
Nice find Jake. At $1600, I'll be keeping my greenbacks and sticking with conventional 10:1 setups which cost a bit over $500.
Certainly on the foiling A-Cat we are strapped tight upwind and downwind, so the sheet management is less of a concern. My understanding is the N17 has the highest sheet loads of any catamaran excluding beasts like the Flying Phantom or F20FCS. The difference is they usually have female crew and are going flat out, so need all the purchase they can get to maintain their energy.
It's the same one as the Greeks use on their Scorpion (see pic). I don't mind the extra line that much, only on long beam reaches with gusty conditions it can be a bit tiresome. In medium winds and upwards I do feel it is more precise and controlled than a 8:1 or 10:1.
I have a modified P18-2 and have a 3:1 at the boom end connected to a 4:1. It's about a 12:1 with much simpler blocks. I used the same system on my P19. years ago, before the synthetics, I used 1/8" 1x19 wire on the back end. A friend borrowed my boat, went to jybe by grabbing the mainsheet. It started moving before he could grab it and the wire got his attention. He didn't get hurt, but I got an ear full. I just know in breeze, I have to be very quick to stay ahead of the traveler coming across.
Cheers... Scott Tuma P 18-2 Mod Turbo "FrankenKitty" Tornado Classic "Fast Furniture"
We tested one of Harken's prototypes for those blocks, but it was a different configuration. Honestly, HANDS DOWN the best conventional main sheet system that I've EVER used!! I've not tried the ones that they are selling, but I have a hard time believing that they're better than the prototype that we have. I'm sure that they are because that is the design they went with, but... The Harken's with the "Mickey Mouse" blocks on the side can't hold a candle to the new ones.
When Harken sent them to us, they gave us some info on the efficiency of the current blocks vs. the new ones; it was amazing to see how much work is lost due to friction in conventional setups. I built a 9:1 internal cascade for my A-cat and REALLY like it; the difference seems to be efficiency and smoothness.
I think the biggest difference is that because of the increased efficiency, you don't actually need as much purchase with the newer blocks. The ones that Bora is using though can be reaved to a variety of purchases, so adjust as needed for your boat/crew. The prototypes made running the sheet on the big rig Tornado much easier; the toughest thing to get used to was how much more freely the line ran when easing.
Sam, I'm not sure that there is anything fancy going on with the traveler; I read the class rules and thought that system was "closed".
Will, regarding Bora's traveler, in the images found in the world sailing accident write up there is quite clearly a 2:1 purchase shown. Otherwise why would there be two lines on each side of the traveler instead of the standard single traveler line with a Y attached to the rear beam? I also read through the class rules; there is nothing specific related to the traveler system, and the following rules would appear to apply (no new function added, just purchase to an existing function)
(iv) ropes of any length and diameter may be added as long as it does not create a new function to the boat (v) plastic balls (vi) blocks with a maximum sheave diameter of 20mm may be added provided it does not create a new function.
There's something else weird about that traveler system. The line they're measuring presumably came from Bora's boat. It's orange. The line shown going into the traveler cleat (again assuming this is the same boat in question) is green and looks like the tail of the mainsheet. However, I think I see that orange line at trampoline level just in front of the rear beam. I'm really interested in what that traveler control looks like.
It looks like the green line swaps into a split tail small diameter orange line and goes through the two sheaves in the traveler car (split tail on the mainsheet like normal). However, instead of tying off to two points centered on the rear beam (which I've always hated), it looks like they go out to the each end of the beam, turn, and then dead end back on either side of the traveler. I wonder if the orange line either tensions that system, offsets the end turning blocks somehow, or allows the traveler to pull to windward? The orange line is definitely tapered to be operated by hand - and the blue small diameter tail coming out of it appears to be doubled up - like it too is a split tail.....so I'm still confused.
Good eye. I'm speculating that orange line allows for adjustment of the center point of the traveler. This would allow one to pull the traveler to weather if required- we rigged a similar system on the 505 last summer. I spent a good bit of last summer sailing in the 505 fleet (I know, dark side), but one of the things they do well as a class is post-race debriefs, along with coaching days where they bring in professionals. There was a good discussion on the benefit of bringing the boom above centerline in light air conditions; the two boat testing completed proved it was faster, despite the sailmakers opinion that the sail shape was worse. Bora clearly thought it was a worthwhile item to explore and at certain times I have felt it would be faster to bring the traveler to weather 2-3".
Last edited by samc99us; 01/08/1802:20 PM.
#288149 - 01/09/1809:13 AMRe: Bora Gulari (USA Olympic Multihull) Badly Injured During Training
Interesting looking at the investigation report photos... The "top down" picture showed a very shallow draft mainsail in my eye. Must be due to the speeds involved (or the ability to really flatten that main).
The close-up on the traveler line (I turned the pic sideways to see it better) mirrors Jake's view: It looks like the tail of the mainsheet is tapered, with the core splitting in two directions right at the traveler. This core appears to join the orange line which looks like some sort of 2:1 arrangement on the traveler end with the line terminating back at the traveler.
I am hypothesizing that if this orange line is the correct length, it may allow for some limited windward sheeting of the traveler? But in that picture, the split in the core looks almost on the traveler cleat while that traveler is centered...
Windward traveler settings do prove beneficial on my F-boat in light to medium air using my conservative square-top. Yeah, I liked cats so much I got one with an extra hull