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Nik Brbora Resumes Clipper Round The World Yacht Race After Injury

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A British sailor injured when a large wave crashed on to his yacht has rejoined his crew and continued with the round-the-world race.

Software engineer Nik Brbora, 28, was left with a pelvic strain when the vessel was caught in rough seas about 400 miles off the California coast in the Pacific Ocean.

The yacht, the Geraldton Western Australia, is one of 10 UK-registered 68ft yachts competing in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, which takes place every two years.

Mr Brbora, from London, was one of three British crew members and one Australian who were injured in the drama two weeks ago.

He and Jane Hitchins, the boat's doctor, were transferred by small boat to a US Coast Guard cutter and taken to Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California.

Ms Hitchins, 50, from Kent, was left with broken ribs, a broken back, a burst lung and a ruptured spleen and is still recovering in hospital.

Mr Brbora said he was excited to start racing again.

"It feels a bit strange to be back on board. Last time I got off the boat I was transferred on to a US Coast Guard cutter, so it is good to start from San Francisco Bay again. I'm very happy to be back.

"I'm still a little bit sore, but I will be fine. You can't think about the incident, but move on and focus on all the good things and the great experiences we have had during our long journey so far.

"The leg ahead is also a bit easier than the Pacific, so I'm feeling good. We are racing down to the Panama Canal and everyone is very excited about that.

"We will leave the Pacific behind us and go back into the Atlantic. We're very excited about heading home. It's quite an emotional step for us all."

Two other injured crew members - Max Wilson, 62, a farmer from Queensland, Australia, and Mark Burkes, 47, from Worcestershire - were deemed well enough to stay on the yacht after the wave ripped off its hull and steering wheel and some of its communications equipment in stormy conditions.

The rest of the 18-strong crew on the boat were said to be uninjured but shaken.

During the two-week scheduled break in the race, uninjured crew members have worked to restore the vessel in the marina in Oakland, San Francisco Bay.

Mr Wilson was not scheduled to carry on for the next leg of the race.

Skipper Juan Coetzer said he was pleased to have his boat repaired.

"The sail is back on the boom, we have our steerage back in and we are all ready to go. The whole crew are very excited to get back to sea and focus on racing again."

The 40,000-mile race, which features predominantly amateur crews, started in Southampton in July last year and is due to return to the city in July this year.

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