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A sailing yacht crashed into the breakwater at the entrance to the port of Rimini, four people were killed

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The sailing yacht Bavaria 50 Dipiú was thrown onto the rocky breakwater of the port of Rimini while trying to enter the harbour. Four of the six crew members, including the owner and his daughter, died.

The yacht sailed out of Marina di Ravenna in Trapani, Sicily, in adverse weather conditions. After only 40 miles, the crew decided to dock in the port of Rimini to wait out the bad weather.

On entering the harbour, the Bavaria 50's engine failed and the boat drifted directly onto the breakwater. The crew tried to deploy the sails to avoid the impact, but it was too late.

After the boat lost its keel on the rocks near the famous Rock Island restaurant, it turned over in a few minutes and lost its mast. According to the photos taken before the boat was torn off the mast the crew managed to turn the staysail before the collision.

The rescuers found two survivors - a 39-year-old man was found unharmed in the interior of the boat, a 68-year-old man was found an hour later in the water. He suffered from hypothermia but is now in hospital and recovering quickly. Among the four people killed in the accident are an experienced 69 year old yachtsman, who had sailed around the world several years ago, the 67 year old co-owner of the boat, who also had extensive yachting experience, his 39 year old daughter and another passenger.

On the day of the accident there was a low pressure front in Northern Italy. Strong northerly winds were forecast. The yacht was heading south along the east coast of Italy, which was to leeward in these conditions. The northeast wind «bora» is well known to those who sail on the Adriatic Sea.

Experienced skippers know that «bora» can be dangerous with its gusts creating short high waves.

So, on the evening of the day of the accident, two ferries from Greece left Ancona harbour for two hours to wait out the adverse weather in the open sea.

Michele Capra, a friend of the owner of the Bavaria 50 Dipiú and a Bavaria dealer in Marina di Ravenna, had advised him not to leave the harbour to wait out the inclement weather, but he replied that the forecast was only bad for the next few hours. « The weather should improve, so we will go on»," said the owner of Dipiú on the phone as he left the harbor.

Chino Ricci «, skipper of the Italian Azurra team taking part in the America's Cup», commented:

«Two fatal mistakes were made yesterday. Firstly, we shouldn't have left the harbour in such conditions and with such a forecast. The crossing to Sicily is long; a day of waiting will not make much difference. Second, once on a boat of this size, get away from the shore where the waves don't normally break. Nothing will happen there. The mistake here was choosing a coastal route. Finally, the decision to seek shelter in Rimini signed the verdict: entering the harbor in leeward conditions is very difficult».
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