MAY 22 —The skipper and mate of the 53-foot ketch once sailed solo around the world by Sir Francis Chichester were dismissed Thursday from the UK Sailing Academy.
The action was made against Antonia Nicholson, the 32-year-old captain, and mate Chris Bruce, who is 24, after an inquiry was performed into how the yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, became grounded this month on a reef in the Pacific 150 miles north of Tahiti. The yacht is said to have suffered a reasonably large hole in her starboard side as well as other damage, news reports say.
“The evidence that had been made available to the inquiry was made available to the skipper and mate, who were give[n] an opportunity to respond to concerns raised about compliance with their responsibilities for the safe navigation of the vessel and the safe conduct of the crew,” the academy says in a statement.
“The outcome of both disciplinary meetings was that both the skipper and the mate were dismissed from the academy,” the release continues. “They both have a right of appeal, although it is too early to say if an appeal will be lodged.”
Nicholson and Bruce were sailing the vessel with a group of volunteers with Blue Water Rally, a two-year charity project. Gipsy Moth IV was being transported from Tahiti to New Zealand for repairs.
— Jason Fell