A racing sailor who ran into an 853-foot tanker in calm seas and excellent visibility was in court last week and denied negligence at the helm.
Roland Wilson, 32, a lieutenant in Britain’s Royal Navy, was racing in Cowes Week in August 2011 when he sailed Atalanta of Chester — a 33-footer belonging to the Royal Naval Sailing Association — into the path of the 120,000-ton Hanne Knutsen, which was making 7 knots.
Click play for video of the collision.
Wilson is facing three counts of contravening maritime regulations in a British Magistrates Court but has denied all charges. Prosecuting attorney Charles Row told the court that Wilson saw the oncoming tanker five miles away.
“The sea was calm, visibility was excellent — in excess of 10 miles, with 10 to 12 knots of wind,” Row told Britain’s Daily Mail. “The Atalanta was passing perilously close even assuming that nothing went wrong. [It was] banking on the Hanne Knutsen turning at a certain rate at a certain point, but something did go wrong.”
One member of the eight-man crew was injured when the sailboat dismasted after striking the Hanne Knutsen.