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Five rescued as race yacht ‘turns turtle’

A yacht that competed in the last two Newport to Bermuda races capsised off the coast of Ireland yesterday sparking a major search and rescue operation.

Among those who were thrown overboard from the boat

Rambler was owner/skipper George David who was also at the helm when the yacht placed fifth in the Newport Race in 2010.

Rambler went down in the Celtic Sea during the Rolex Fastnet Race when the keel broke as it was leading the fleet.

David and his partner, Wendy Touton, were among five people who were swept out to sea, while the other 16 members of the crew managed to hang onto the hull.

Crew members said the accident happened so fast that they had little time to react. Within seconds of the keel breaking, the boat “turned turtle,” nautical parlance for a sailboat flipping upside-down.

Rescuers initially saved everyone but David, Touton and the three others who were tossed overboard had to survive for two-and-a-half hours before being spotted. The group of five stayed together by linking arms.

Touton was flown to a medical centre to be treated for hypothermia symptoms but was okay, officials said.

David and the other three crew who were drifting away from the boat were reunited with their fellow sailors in Baltimore, Ireland.

David said the crew faced more challenging situations last month when they won the Transatlantic Race 2011 from Newport, Rhode Island, to Cornwall, England, in record time six days, 22 hours, eight minutes and two seconds.

Rambler, a 100-footer, finished fifth in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division of the Newport Race in 2010 with a corrected time of 63 hours, 35 minutes and 56 seconds.

A coastguard boat stands by after the the Newport-Bermuda Race entry Rambled capsized, throwing skipper/owner David and four others were swept into the sea during this week's Fastnet race.

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Published August 17, 2011 at 10:10 am (Updated August 17, 2011 at 10:09 am)

Five rescued as race yacht ‘turns turtle’

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