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Clipper Sailor Cath James Rescued

17 March 2012

A FORMER senior council officer, who left her post with a £110,000 pay-off to go on the Clipper round-the-world yacht race, has been winched to safety after being injured at sea.

BBC/Cath James said she is keen to rejoin the yacht race

Cath James has spoken of her terror after being flung from her cabin in high seas off the Japanese coast, injuring her back.

She embarked on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in July after leaving West Oxfordshire District Council.

The 41-year-old, who was the authority’s strategic director for environment, signed a compromise agreement which barred her from revealing details of her departure.

Speaking from her hotel in Tokyo, Ms James said: "We'd come down to the west coast of Japan, and it started to get quite rough.

"I got thrown from one side of the boat to the other before colliding with a metal bulk-head.

"I couldn't actually move, I was in way too much pain," she said.

Others taking part in the race have described the conditions as "mountainous seas".

Asked if Sunday’s drama compared to the circumstances of her departure, Miss James laughed: “I would put them on a par, I suspect.”

Despite being strapped into her bed, the jolt of the turbulent sea sent the Witney woman hurtling to the floor in pain.

She was winched into a helicopter and taken to hospital in Tokyo.

Doctors found she had broken vertebrae in her lower spine.

She said: “It is a really nasty injury.”

Miss James hopes to rejoin the crew – which she paid £40,000 to join – in San Francisco or Panama, if well enough.

Asked if her experience put her off, she said: “No, common sense hasn’t prevailed yet.”