World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, has published an investigation report into the Nacra 17 incident involving Bora Gulari (USA). Download the report below.
The report, produced by a working party / investigation team led by Equipment Committee Chair Dina Kowalyshyn, provides a review into the incident, documenting the facts found with recommendations to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence.
On Wednesday 30 August 2017, Gulari sustained an injury during a training incident with teammate Helena Scutt as they were preparing for the Nacra 17 World Championship in La Grand Motte, France.
During a practice race, they were on starboard tack and fully foiling as they approached the offset mark at a speed estimated to be 17 knots. They pitchpoled (bow down resulting in a sudden stop) while rounding the windward offset mark and Gulari and Scutt travelled forward at a high-speed.
Gulari had the traveler control line wrapped around his hand and Gulari identified this as the cause of the incident.
Video evidence, provided by Italian coach, Gabriele Bruni, shows the traveller control being held as the sailors are thrown forward and falling the leeward after they enter the water. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support the exact determination of the cause.
The document published provides a full report into the conditions the team were sailing in, the equipment they were using, medical records, full statements from Gulari and Scutt as well as a review into video shot on the water. Furthermore, the findings are outlined with the root cause of the injury sustained by Gulari coming from the pitchpole.
From the report, six recommendations to avoid recurrence have been stated and include being aware of personal safety and the equipment used as well as ensuring there are appropriate event/local emergency procedures both on and off the water.
Safety in sailing was a major talking point at World Sailing's 2017 Annual Conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
As sailing evolves and develops, the risks in the sport are increasing and World Sailing are taking positive steps to protect the sailors and reduce the risks.
A safety framework was presented to the sports key stakeholders in Puerto Vallarta which includes the creation of a Safety Panel and an incident reporting web portal.
Member National Authorities and sailors will be encouraged to report all incidents. From there, the Safety Panel will assess each reported incident. Depending on the seriousness of the incident, they will make a decision on the next steps and whether to investigate further.
The end goal is to reduce the incidents in the sport and increase awareness of best practice. The next step is for World Sailing Committees to make their recommendations by mid-January to refine the framework.