Sarah Young (40), one of the crew aboard the IchorCoal boat (CV21), is dead. Next of kin have been informed and all our thoughts are now with Sarah’s family, teammates, and loved ones on and off the race.
Skipper Darren Ladd reports that Sarah was tidying the cockpit after reefing the mainsail in 35 – 40 knots of wind, when she was knocked from her position by a wave. She fell back toward the guard wire and was swept under it by another wave at 1127 UTC/2227 local time. She was not tethered onto the yacht at this time and was swept away in strong winds.
The boat immediately applied its man overboard drill but was hampered by the conditions and lack of direct visual. Her body was recovered on board using her AIS signal at 1244 UTC/2344 local time, and although resuscitation was attempted and telephone assistance provided by the Praxes Medical Group Doctors, the Clipper Race’s remote telemedicine support service, she never regained consciousness.
The cause of death is yet to be confirmed but is suspected as drowning or exposure. All other crew are reported safe and well and the team are working with Race Officials to evaluate the options on diversion or continuing to Seattle.
The incident happened on day 12 of the ninth race in the 14-stage Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, at 39 North, 160 East, approaching the International Date Line. This current race takes crew across the Pacific Ocean from Qingdao, China, to Seattle, USA and has over 3,242 miles left to its destination.
Clipper Race Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston stated: “On behalf of everyone at Clipper Ventures, I am deeply saddened by the loss of Sarah. She was a very popular and integral member of the Clipper Race family and knew our boats well, having sailed with us since London last summer. The safety of our crew has always been and continues to be our main priority and we shall investigate the incident immediately in full cooperation with the authorities.”