LA GRANDE MOTTE, FRA – US Olympian Bora Gulari of Detroit has lost parts of three fingers on his right hand in the capsize of his Nacra 17 foiling catamaran as he and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, WA) trained for the forthcoming world championship. US Sailing said in a press release today that Gulari was injured after he came in contact with the boat's rigging during a capsize in strong wind conditions and that he is recovering at a hospital following surgery.
The grotesque injury comes amid deep controversy in the Nacra 17 class. Earlier this month, the Nacra 17 medal race in a test event in Denmark was cancelled and all foiling configuration Nacra 17s, including retrofitted versions, were recalled in order to replace the bearings for the daggerboards. At the time, Nacra Sailing urged all owners not to sail the boats until the replacement bearings were fitted.
There has been an outcry about World Sailing's rush to implement foiling in the Olympics, against their own regulations that call for Olympic equipment to be tested and approved five years before the Games.
Earlier today, and prior to the release of the statement from US Sailing, a post on an Italian sailing website, saily.it, reported that Gulari had "put his hand on the edge of a foil, very sharp, and lost four fingers" not from "coming in contact with the boat's rigging" as reported by US Sailing.
Sailing Illustrated has reached out to Gulari but hasn’t heard back.
In the US Sailing press release, he was quoted as saying, "This is an unfortunate setback, but Helena and I will bounce back from this and continue our campaign for Tokyo 2020. I'll definitely be back on the water as soon as I'm able, which should be in about a month."
According to US Sailing, Italian Sailing Team coach Gabriele Bruni helped Gulari and Scutt immediately after the accident, with US Sailing Team coach David Howlett, who was assisting with running practice races, arriving a few minutes later. Scutt, who is also a U.S. Olympian, was not injured. Scutt sailed the boat back to shore with help from Rio 2016 Olympic gold medalist Santiago Lange (ARG), who rushed from shore to assist.
Gulari and Scutt have dropped out of the worlds, scheduled for Sept. 5-10 in La Grande Motte, FRA.
Bora Gulari is shown at the helm of his Nacra 17 in this undated photo courtesy of US Sailing.