Miami racer Jose Fereira, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene Nov. 8 after the boat he throttled slammed nose-first in a wave at 80 mph. The 33-foot Mr. K/Frank's Marine broke apart, but two other riding crew members, Carlos Gonzalez of Miami and Rolando Garcia of Hialeah, Fla., have recovered from serious injuries according to David DiPetrillo, who coordinate's SBR's medical and safety program. He added that Chicago resident James Finkl had recovered from critical head injuries sustained after his Pro Stock boat was struck by a larger Open class entry that same day.
DiPetrillo said while SBR continues to strive for enhanced race safety, he has no plans for significant alterations today, citing excellent response times and medical attention provided for November's accidents.
"I think their (the three recovered victims) recovery proves the importance of a quality medical rescue system like the one we had in November," said DiPetrillo.
DiPetrillo said as many as six rescue-diver staffed helicopters and 10 medical boats would monitor the 8.6-mile triangular course just off the island's southern coast. Additionally, two medical transport boats are to be staffed with trauma surgeons.
Saturday evening, the National Weather Service predicted easterly winds at 15 to 20 mph which should kick seas up to four feet at race time.
Noticeably absent at today's contest is one of this decade's most successful racers. Stuart Hayim, a Great Neck, N.Y., driver who has won four consecutive world titles and three straight national SBR championships indicated business and personal responsibilities will keep him from racing his 46-foot catamaran this year.
"I had a great ride and got my money's worth 10 times over," Hayim said. "But right now I have family, personal and business commitments that take priority."
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