The first Shipman Cup was brought to a premature end following a serious accident to designer Jonathan Rhoades

Nine yachts contested the first Shipman Cup in Portoroz, Slovenia last weekend but a bad accident aboard the Shipman 72 Sarah Key on Sunday 26 April brought proceedings to a premature end on day two with the final race of the regatta being scrubbed.

The accident happened in light airs at the first weather mark of race two just as the crew of the 72 were setting their A sail which was being launched from a sock. As the powered halyard winch hoisted the sail Jonathan Rhoades of the Rhoades Young Design Group in Lymington had his lower leg pulled between the winch drum and the loaded part of the halyard severely crushing his leg and ankle. Unconfirmed reports said that part of his trouser leg may have been caught in the winch which rapidly dragged his leg onto the drum.

I was alongside Sarah Key at the time in a press boat, the skipper of which immediately alerted a nearby police patrol boat which quickly put an evacuation plan into action. With Jonathan being tended to on deck by a doctor transferred from another yacht, Sarah Key steamed the short distance to the small port of Piran where paramedics were already waiting on the dock in an ambulance.

Jonathan was stabilised and within the hour air-lifted to hospital in Ljubljana by a Medivac team. He was accompanied by his business partner Dick Young and Japec Jakopin, founder and president of the Seaway Group. The evacuation seemed fast and efficient.

Despite the efforts of the medical teams it was confirmed by the hospital later that afternoon that doctors had been unable to save Jonathan’s foot.

The devastated fleet had already curtailed racing and returned to Portoroz.

In a press statement the Rhoades Young studio in Lymington said: “All parties, since the first incident in the accident have been exemplary in their efforts for which we are all very grateful. We have also received many messages of goodwill which gives Jonathan great solace and support.” They added that Jonathan’s family were in Ljubljana and were hoping to evacuate him to the UK as soon as possible.

Jonathan Rhoades is a respected interior designer whose work aboard the Shipman 80 Paula Rosa has been highly praised. He and Dick Young were guests of the Seaway Group for the Shipman Cup. Watch out for a fuller report on what was otherwise an excellent regatta in an upcoming issue of Yachting World.