Another experienced sailor was injured this week when the sailboat he was on experienced an accidental gybe in a gust. Unlike frequent stories of sailors struck in the head by a flying boom, Mike Kalahar was struck by the mainsheet tackle crossing the cockpit and pinned by the throat against a winch, cutting off his breathing. His injuries required a Coast Guard rescue, and fortunately this sailor reached medical attention in time and is now recuperating.
This story differs from the many stories of injuries caused by a lack of a boom preventer. Kalahar's boat had a preventer, but apparently under the extreme load of the accidental gybe the preventer line parted. All sailors should be especially alert when sailing downwind, and a preventer should always be used. Learn how to make your own preventer or shop around for a commercial boom brake - you may save someone's life.