Old 30th August 2007, 01:27 AM   #21
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Hi,

Unfortunately, I know this 2 accidentes involving 2 people.
One guy hit a catamaran at full speed with his FW when sailing in 20 knots conditions. The sun was falling and there was the usual glare......no one see each other untill too late. Fortunately the catamaran sailor helped and recued the FW sailor who broke his pelvis. He quit sailing. He was well known at the NP forum (when there was one) under the nick name of Sidao.
Another guy I know was run over by a speed boat whose driver did not stop to help. He was lucky that a service boat from a local windsurf clube was near the place and collected and saved him from drowning. He had serious cut at his back and had to be transported by helicopter to a better hospital than the one near the accident place. I do not know of him as late but I know he survived.
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Old 30th August 2007, 03:09 AM   #22
o2bnme
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Hmm... Accidents. I'll set aside the stupid things I've done -- like heading out to sail 5 minutes before a thunderstorm/hailstorm arrived.

If people worry about hitting the mast, no matter what skill level, just wear a helmet.

For beginners, you can't get into too much trouble... I think the worst thing that happened to me was getting 'stuck' under the sail and trying to take a breath. Of course, once you have your wits about you again, getting out of that situation is easy.

For most advanced sailors, there isn't much you can't avoid by wearing a helmet and impact vest (ie, neoprene life vest). I do know of people who have gotten their feet stuck in the foot straps and have torn their ACL etc up during falls, but I've never experienced anything that severe in the 25 years I've been sailing.

Right now, I'm nursing some bruised ribs after messing up a duck jibe. If I had been wearing my wakeboard neoprene vest, this would have been a non-event. Of course, this won't stop me from sailing this weekend.

Everyone has different safety tolerances. I've made the (recent) decision to use a helmet in 4.8 (and smaller) conditions. This has served me well -- I have avoided at least concussion opportunities this year as a result. Also, it allows me to push the envelope when sailing instead of being cautious to avoid an injury.

I know people who take a cell phone with them in a waterproof bag. They wear US Coast Guard Approved life preservers. They wear helmets. They have extra downhaul/outhaul line in case they need it. I can't fault them for being careful, but I have never felt the need to go to such lengths.

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Old 30th August 2007, 03:30 PM   #23
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the main thing is not to panic, one of the worst things that can happen if the sail lands clew first on your head and you foot is stuck in the strap or when your foot gets stuck in the foot strap and ur harness line gets twisted
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Old 31st August 2007, 01:24 AM   #24
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o2bnme makes an excellent point about using a helmet to mitigate the chance of a head injury. Frankly, I always wear a Gath helmet windsurfing, regardless of sail size used. I know that many view wearing a helmet as being uncool and avoid the use of one at all costs. However, they do so at their risk. Most of the time, the helmet isn't needed, but there are those infrequent times where they can make a big difference. Kind of like wearing a seatbelt while driving.
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Old 31st August 2007, 06:03 AM   #25
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Default Helmet

In a past life I used to leap off cliffs for kicks and one of the gear manufacturers gave me some great advice.

You might not look too cool wearing a helmet while jumping but you'll look a damn sight cooler than you will after an accident without a helmet with drool dribbling down your chin.

Once I feel I am sailing on the edge and want to push it that bit further than I'm sure I can handle, I put on my Gath.

Moral of the story, sail within your abilities and when you want to push it, wear whatever protection you feel you need. Of course if you want to take risks in a different way to me, that's your choice too.
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Old 31st August 2007, 09:56 AM   #26
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Wink gaths are cool

until i looked at the price, sure ya get what you pay for, and with the gath well its a nice lid, but i wear an old cycling helmet if things really ramp up,

shredulato
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Old 31st August 2007, 10:00 AM   #27
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Default Not a Gath

Quote:
Originally Posted by martwald View Post
In a past life I used to leap off cliffs for kicks and one of the gear manufacturers gave me some great advice.

You might not look too cool wearing a helmet while jumping but you'll look a damn sight cooler than you will after an accident without a helmet with drool dribbling down your chin.

Once I feel I am sailing on the edge and want to push it that bit further than I'm sure I can handle, I put on my Gath.

Moral of the story, sail within your abilities and when you want to push it, wear whatever protection you feel you need. Of course if you want to take risks in a different way to me, that's your choice too.
With all due respect, I have looked into watersports helmets such as the Gath helmet. The ANSI criteria is that such helmets have impact protection for about 12 knots. The reason for this is that kayaking whitewater class 5 is estimated at a maximum of 12 knots. When I contacted the folks at the Snell foundation (a helmet rating organization), and explained my interest in a helmet for windsurfing at velocities of 20-30 knots, with a "worst-case" scenario of two windsurfers colliding head-on with an impact velocity of up to ~50 knots, they did not think that ANY watersports helmets provided sufficient protection. I asked what they recommended, they didn't have a recommendation; when I suggested a snowboarding style helmet, they thought that was as good a choice as any. That is what I use.

Some comments / concerns have been raised about water "catching" the EPS-cushioned design and putting a lot of torque on the head. I haven't had a problem so far. You might think that a head-on collision seems improbable, and I thought so too, until one day in Hatteras I was sailing along in uncrowded conditions and a sailor on the opposing tack (he on starboard, I downwind of him on port) suddenly got catapulted and his mast tip impacted the water about 1 foot from my rail at the front footstrap. Getting hit in the head, chest, or abdomen by a mast tip at 40 knots of closing speed would almost certainly be fatal.

Obviously, I think it's a very low-likelihood event. But I no-longer think it is a no-likelihood event. In my view, the Gath helmets are not adequate for windsurfing.
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Old 31st August 2007, 05:05 PM   #28
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Default Gath helmets

Quite a few people were Gath helmets skydiving to prevent possible injury on landings, the speeds on landings would always exceed 12 knots. I personally have had a Gath save my life once when I landed poorly, head first into a fence post, stood up dazed but fine.

Whenever the debate is raised about sufficient protection, the answer always is that only motorcycle helmets provide full protection, need I comment on using one of them windsurfing.

Gath's may not provide total protection but they are a damn sight better than a bare skull.
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Old 10th September 2007, 06:39 PM   #29
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...a very tragic and fatal accident happened this weekend in the south-west of Sweden... I guess they still do not know if it was injury- or sickness related, since the guy was out on his own. Even though I am not from the area nor did I know him, but he was still a fellow windsurfer, and my thoughts are with his family.
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Old 12th September 2007, 12:54 AM   #30
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Default I've had a bad accident!

In May 2005 I went out on my Carve 111 wood (great board!) It was a perfect day - force 4-5 with only 12-18inch high chop, generally pretty flat, side shore winds. I'd been out for an hour & was getting some decent chop hops in. Then I got a nice floatly one, but half way through there was a 'bang' from the back end of the boom - the sail suddenly went very full which drove the nose of the board down.....& I did not bail out quick enough - as the board entered the water near vertically, & with all my weight going through my front (right) leg & not being able to take any force via the boom, I felt my ankle break.....& the force of teh impact had wedged my foot hard into the strap. As my body entered the water I grabbed hold of my heel & pulled my foot out of teh strap - damage was done though - I did not realise it at the time, but my foot had dislocated & was pointing outwards & backwards (at 4 o'clock position with dead ahead being 12 o'clock). I was a mile out - one a perfect day - a couple of fellow windsurfers sailed over to me - one towed my rig back, the other went to raise the alarm on the beach - I self rescued, paddling in on my board bending my lower leg at the knee to keep my bad foot out of the drag of the water. I did not dare look or touch it until I was safe on the beach.

My ankle was pinned & plated, but the real damage was to the soft tissue around the front of the ankle which had all been torn away from the bone. A ligament on the inside of the ankle had also become detached from the foot bone - the ligament was fine, but the bone it attached to had broken away so this had to be relocated & attached back to my foot too. The surgeon told me after the op that it was one of the worst, if not the worst, ankle injury he had worked on - he said that at point point in the two hour op he had both sides of my ankle opened up (approx 5 inch cuts on either side) with the skin being pulled back with clamps & he could have poked his finger from one side to the other underneath the soft tissue.

I was not allowed to put any weight on it for 6 weeks & had to go through 2 further ops to remove the hardware later in 2005 & then in late 2006.

I did not windsurf for the rest of 2005.

I spent most of 2006 trying to regain confidence windsurfing - I was, & still am, surprised at the psychological impact. I can't say that my windsurfing is back to normal yet either.

The op to remove the plate & remianing hardware in Nov 2006 was more intrusive than I expected too, with another spell of no load, but this did not stop me snow skiing in March 07.

I must finish by saying that this was my first significant windsurf injury in about 25 years of windsurfing - but the real scary bit was how easily it happened in conditions which were far from extreme, I could have understood & maybe accepted the accident if I had been pushing my own boundaries or been in 'survivial' conditions - but it wasn't even close, maybe I was lucky that I could self rescue so easily with no shore dump to worry about.

........but its still a great sport!
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