Followers of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race will be aware every few years the fleet is bolstered by the inclusion of the Clipper Fleet as part of their racing circumnavigation of the globe.
For those who are not aware, the Clipper Round the World Race is a unique event and opportunity for anyone who has an interest in sailing. The race pits 12 identical yachts, each skippered by a professional sailor, but the crews are all amateur. In fact, anyone can apply to become a part of a crew. These yachts then race over 14 legs around the world, starting and finishing in London.
Unfortunately, just before 2230 hrs local time (1127 UTC), on March 31, tragedy struck one of the yachts, Ichor Coal. Sarah Young, a 40-year-old business owner from the UK, was in the cockpit after reefing the mainsail in 35-40 knot winds, when she was knocked off her feet towards the guardrail by a wave, and, before she could recover or be assisted, a second wave swept her overboard.
She was not tethered to the yacht at the time.
Despite immediately implementing the man overboard drill, the conditions and darkness prevented a visual sighting of Young in the water, but she was tracked and located at 2344 hrs local time using a personal EPIRB signal. She was recovered, but all attempts at resuscitation failed.
Young’s cause of death is yet to be confirmed, but is thought to be either drowning or exposure.
Unfortunately, the remote location of the accident means the time required to reach a suitable port is so long that it has been decided, in conjunction with her family, to conduct a burial at sea.
Sarah Young leaves behind a partner. Our thoughts go out to all her family and friends at this difficult time.