A coup d’etat?

July 29, 2009

Well, what an adventurous day was had by the crew of Rampage on Monday 27 July 2009, a day that will live in history as the one of THOSE days.  With the crew assembled but facing bad weather in Biscay, we had decided to do a bit of day sailing to shake everyone down into a working crew.



We left the Yacht Haven at about 9am aiming to sail down to the Lizard and back by early afternoon, setting the sails just inside the harbour.  Having done that, we promptly lost the wind behind a headland, so took some time to actually make it into the open sea.  We then did a few tacks just to get people working together and then settled down to make progress to our destination. 


Part of the cunning plan was to do man overboard drills – picking up a weighted buoy to simulate someone who’d been foolish enough to part company from the boat.  The first one was fine but the second, attempting to do it all under sail without the motor got a bit fraught with the new crew taking time to sort themselves out….


Anyhow, suffice it to say that we thought we’d just about got things under control when the helm managed to throw in an unexpected gybe and the skipper met the boom coming fast in the opposite direction.  Result was much blood, semi conscious skipper and a good deal of hunting round for the ‘major injury’ bit of the first aid kit.  Julia and David took a look at the skipper and decided that he really needed hospital attention, so put out a radio call to the coastguard who promptly decided to get a helicopter to come and pick the skipper up for treatment.


From the skipper’s perspective (in a heap in the cockpit, not taking much notice of what was going on) it seemed that a large bloke in a helmet arrived in the boat in minutes few, put a sling round him, told him to keep his arms by his side and whisked him up into the air.  The only down side of the whole lift was having one’s nose about 6 inches from the winch man’s crotch…..


A 6 minute flight later, the skipper was handed over to the ambulance crew in Truro and installed on a trolley in the A&E department a few minutes after that.  Treatment followed, including gluing the skin back together and steristrips to reinforce things.  The doctor decided that there was no need for an over night stay so a phone call was made to tell Julia to come and pick the casualty up.


In the meantime, Julia and the rest of the crew had been bringing Rampage back into the Yacht Haven in Falmouth.  Polly and Tommy were waiting for them when they arrived and took Julia off to Truro Hospital to collect Duncan.  They arrived there by about 2.30pm to find him sitting up and taking an interest in the things, albeit nursing a spectacular headache. 


The hospital had issued instructions to avoid getting the wound wet for 5 days, so that put a bit of a stopper on further movement southwards.  This meant that Brian and Bill couldn’t continue with us and left for home on Tuesday.  However, on the upside, we found a sailmaker who had the time to fit a third reef in the mainsail, which will make coping with heavy weather that much easier.


The Skipper is now mending well – a touch wobbly on his feet and easily tired but no more headache and the bruising is going down.  A full recovery is predicted and we’re planning on leaving on Monday of next week.  David has decided to stay with us and we’re now looking for another crew man to fill out the roster.


More to follow as it happens – never dull with the Byrnes….



  1. You look more and more like the Old Man just need to get a little more grey hair to match him. Gods speed on the next leg to the Med see you all soon

  2. Nice to see that you are taking the medicine!! Is that a nice rose you have open before you?

  3. After this incident you should rename the boat; goodbye “Rampage” hello “Dotage”.

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