A squall with winds reaching 28kts flattens fleet during yesterday's Mitsubishi Youth Regatta 6/7/07

A major rescue operation took place in Dublin Bay yesterday afternoon during the second race of the Mitsubishi Youth Regatta when a massive squall reaching 28kts of wind swept through the 115-boat fleet.

Many of the competitors, mainly children were plucked from the sea/capsized dinghies as the squall continued to rage into the afternoon during the Royal St George Yacht Club-organised, two-day event.

Patrick Blaney, race officer and Vice Commodore of Royal St George Yacht Club, said that in the increasingly winds he made the decision to abandon the race and initiate our rescue plan and declare an emergency. Fortunately despite 14 crew members being taken to hospital for observation there were no serious injuries and according to Sue Addis the event’s manager at the host club, all boats were accounted for too.

David Branigan, a crewmember of the Dublin Bay Lifeboats, involved in the rescue operation yesterday, said: “Fortunately there were no serious casualties. It was very much a precautionary exercise which worked well.” Branigan also confirmed that none of the RNLI boat were used in the rescue operation instead all 22 event fleet rescue boat carried out on-the-water support.

Although the conditions have abated somewhat this morning, the race organizers have apparently decided to cancel the remainder of races.

Blaney praising the emergency services said: “I would like to thank all the emergency services for their considerable support today. The Major Emergency Plan was implemented quickly, efficiently and thoroughly showing the high levels of expertise and capability of the various agencies. And I would like to thank our own rescue personnel who are mainly Irish Sailing Association Sailing Instructors; they did a superb job looking after all of the competitors.”