Nelson skipper tired and drunk before death, coroner finds

New Zealand's 3 News:

A Nelson skipper who died when he was swept off his yacht in rough seas was drunk, not wearing a life jacket and told his companion not to get help.

Charles Gerard Gallagher, 52, had been drinking heavily on the day last September when he was flung from the deck of his racing boat, Mrs Jones, while sailing from Nelson to Picton.

In findings released today, Coroner Christopher Devonport details the hours leading up to his death, painting a picture of an experienced boatie who was tired, drunk and ill-prepared for the difficult ocean conditions that day.

He and sailing companion Josephine Ivory had started the day by rowing ashore to watch an America's Cup race and eat a cooked breakfast. The skipper downed three Bloody Mary's and several beers, and continued drinking when the pair got back to the boat.

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