During the last race of the German Sailing Grand Prix last summer, while helping pull in the spinnaker at a leeward mark, Charlest Nankin was hit by the genoa and flung overboard. As the boat turned, the mastman was dragged underwater, struck by the rudder, and pinned there for 24 seconds. He was diagnosed with a full vertebral fracture and underwent a three-hour operation during which a titanium plate was inserted to stabilise his thora-columbar region. After a painful and complicated rehabilitation period, Nankin returned to Shosholoza in early March and sailed with his team for Louis Vuitton Act 13. Nankin is currently rotation with replacement mastman, Magnus Doole. “I am able to do everything but I do try to avoid lifting heavy stuff which makes a big difference,” he says. “I’m not wasting my energy on other things and I am able to focuss on the essentials. My mind is not that tired anymore and I don’t have time to think about the accident which certainly changed my life. I’m focussing strictly on my sailing and that helps a lot.”The injury has had a deep impact on me,” says Nankin. “I’m now savouring life much more. It’s hard to believe the extent of the change. But maybe that’s normal if you escape death as narrowly as I did?”For more, click here.