Posted on June 7, 2018


We’d just finished dinner and cleaning up. All of us were exhausted. It was late, past 10pm when the accident happened.

I was in my room getting ready for bed when my roomie came hurtling in through the door with a bit too much gusto. The next thing I heard was a yelp. I swung around and she’d disappeared as fast as she had entered.

As I climbed the narrow stairway to the cockpit I heard the following words, “…guys I think I’ve broken my toe.”.

I had a flash back to December 2015 when I fell off the climbing wall and damaged my ankle. It took 24 hours but the swelling came up fast. I remember my entire foot blowing up to three times its normal size and it took more than three months to heal.

Accidents on boats are far more commonplace than you might think. We all walk around barefoot for safer footing. And ironically we become complacent and toes are the first things to get stubbed.

My roomie was now sat on a chair being examined by the captain. Her legs outstretched. Her baby toe had already started to bruise like a soft peach.

“I definitely heard a pop,” she confessed.

I rummaged in the med kit, crammed behind the navigation station and handed over the ice pack, which after cracking, only lasted about ten minutes. Another trainee gave her some anti inflammatory pills and the discussion of what to do next followed. A cacophony of voices flooded my ears, all with her best interest at heart.

Rather than joining in, I turned on my heels and headed downstairs to bed. My eyes were heavy and I believed whatever medical decision was made would probably be done the following morning. There was already quite enough excitement upstairs without the need for another opinion.

In less than twenty minutes I was out cold. The rocking of the boat lulled me sleep. While I was in dreamland the captain and the programme director decided to motor the yacht to Nanny Cay immediately, a good 45 minutes away. There our wounded sailor would be able to see a night doctor who could decide if her toe was dislocated, fractured or broken via an x-ray.

I slept threw the whole thing. I was woken up briefly when a staff member came in to grab some stuff and I was informed that one of our two engines had died from over heating and we were en route to a new location.

“Should I get up.” I asked sleepily.

“No,”came the response. I rolled over and zoned out once more.

Early this morning our trainee was sent to hospital, arguing against an ambulance pick up and somewhat mortified at the drama the accident had caused. The X-ray did indeed confirm her “pinkie toe” was broken. The local doctor however sent her back to the boat with painkillers and other random drugs better suited for other ailments.

An hour later she was ordered back to the hospital by our boss for a thorough check up. Four hours later she returned with her foot in a cast and on crutches.

In that time our catamaran’s engine had to be fixed. By midday we were on our way back to the marina to switch yachts. During the journey we packed up and after docking cleaned the entire boat, transferred the food stuff, changed the linen and did an inventory check in.

In less than 36 hours we’d be checking out once again, saying our goodbyes and preparing for the teenagers arriving on Friday morning.