The helmsman aboard a racing yacht may have averted disaster by swinging the vessel to the starboard moments before it struck a large whale in its path.
Roberto "Chuny" Bermudez was guiding CAMPER swiftly across the Atlantic during the seventh stage of the Volvo Ocean Race when the whale surfaced just off the bow. (Viewers can see the whale eight seconds into the video, and in slow-motion at 23 seconds.)
Media crew member Hamish Hooper stated Tuesday on the race website:
"With reflexes like a cat he narrowly missed what could have been the equivalent of a runaway freight train colliding with a truck. We were doing just over 20 knots and all of a sudden the boat lurched to starboard, just staying in control.
"Nico (skipper Chris Nicholson) popped his head up to see Chuny looking as if he has just seen his life flash before his eyes. I think he had. It would have been seriously bad for both the whale and us."
The seventh of nine stages of the around-the-world race is from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal. CAMPER is in fifth place.