Regatta participant describes treacherous conditions where fatal accident occurred

Regatta participant describes treacherous conditions where fatal accident occurred

The wind speed in the area where a French woman competing in the Aegean 600 regatta died on Monday night after falling into the water reached 40-42 knots at times, according to a member of one of the other crews in the race.

“We ran into winds of over 25 knots at around 10 p.m. last night before rounding Kasos, in the strait with Crete. When we tried to turn around at Kasos, the wind wouldn’t let us. Then suddenly, the winds exceeded 40 knots. I stopped looking when I saw the instruments registering 42 knots,” Evi Delidou told Kathimerini on Tuesday from the Aether, one of the vessels that has stayed in the race.

Anything over 30 knots is considered risky, especially for smaller vessels.

“We were scared for our lives and for the boat. The waves were over two meters high; the boat was dancing on them and the wind was tossing it about like a walnut shell,” Delidou added, describing the conditions when the 40-year-old French woman and another of her teammates went overboard off the island of Kasos on Monday night.

“The weather changed very quickly. I’ve seen it happen lots of times before but I’ve never seen it change so fast,” confirmed Paris Kyriakopoulos, captain of the experienced Greek crew of the Foxy Lady, where another sailor was injured on Monday night.

The French woman was already unconscious by the time her crew got her back on board, with her death being confirmed later by doctors. The other crew member who ended up in the water is a 46-year-old Ukrainian national who is said to be in good health.

The treacherous weather conditions also resulted in the injury of a third sailor, identified as a 61-year-old man sailing under the Polish flag.

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