By Katia Damborsky
A photographer has captured the moment a 20-metre Gunboat 66 sailing catamaran named CoCo de Mer capsized during the Round the Island race on 1 July off the Isle of Wight, England.
The competing yacht was carrying 14 crewmembers and a dog at the time of the incident, and it is understood that she was rounding a mark upwind off the coast of Bembridge when she unexpectedly heeled at a 90-degree angle.
An eyewitness account reports that "those on deck were literally grabbing anything they could to stop themselves from falling" while the pair of hulls continued to lift "until the mast splashed down onto the sea".
A passing six-metre RIB was the first respondent, followed by a support rib for the competing yacht Gladiator and a Border Force cutter. All passengers were safely brought into boats, including a crew member who remained on the port hull that was above the water.
First responders took floating debris into their boats, and fifty minutes after the initial incident the mast snapped and the yacht capsized entirely. Three crewmembers suffered from the effects of cold water immersion and were transferred to Bembridge RNLI lifeboat station for further medical attention.
John Keyworth, lifeboat operations manager of Royal National Lifeboat Institution Bembridge, confirmed that the yacht was removed the day after the incident and taken to a shipyard for repairs. She is expected to be fully operational after the repairs are completed.