Clipper race tragedy victim laid to rest at sea

An amateur sailor who died after being swept into the Pacific Ocean while competing in a global yacht race has been laid to rest at sea.

Sunday, 3rd April 2016, 8:32 am
Updated Sunday, 3rd April 2016, 8:41 am
Sarah Young Picture: onEdition/PA Wire

The 12 teams held a minute’s silence aboard their vessels to remember Sarah Young, 40, who was washed into the sea by a large wave as she tended to the mainsail aboard her 70ft yacht on Friday.

Ms Young, a company owner from London, is the second crew member to have died on the IchorCoal vessel during the Gosport-based Clipper Round The World Yacht Race.

Drawing upon centuries-old maritime traditions, her crewmates committed her to the sea at 1.02am British time on Sunday.

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Three readings were delivered, including the ballad Sea Fever by the English poet John Masefield.

Skipper Darren Ladd said in a message to shore: “Everyone played their part and the ceremony passed with all the dignity as we could muster.

“Thanks for your continued support and kind wishes.”

As she was laid to rest by her team, sailors aboard the other 11 yachts gathered together on their individual vessels and marked the solemn moment with a minute’s silence.

Organisers said the decision to bury Ms Young at sea was made after consultation with her partner, friends, family and the crew.

A doctor, medical advisers and the Maritime Coastguard Agency gave guidance to go ahead with the burial due to the length of time it would take the yacht to reach the closest landfall.

In a later tweet the organisers said: “RIP Sarah Young - laid to rest in #PacificOcean #ClipperRace - our thoughts are with crew, partner, friends and family.”

Ms Young died after being washed overboard while untethered at around 1.44pm UK time on Friday. The clipper was sailing through rough weather in the mid-north Pacific on its way from China to Seattle, in America.

She was recovered by crewmates who tried to resuscitate her, but she never regained consciousness, a race spokeswoman said.

Race organisers said: “We appreciate that this will be a difficult and emotional time for the crew, the entire fleet and the whole Clipper Race family. Our thoughts remain with them all and with Sarah’s partner, family and friends at this difficult time.

“Sarah was much loved, and will be missed deeply by all who knew her. On behalf of her family and friends, they have asked us to request that they are now allowed to grieve and remember Sarah in peace.”

Ms Young’s parents are both dead and she has no siblings. Race organisers said they have been in touch with her elderly aunt in New Zealand who gave the ceremony her blessing.

Friends of Ms Young, who was director of Bespoke Establishments, which helps manage properties for wealthy clients, said they are “heartbroken” at her tragic death.

Fellow IchorCoal crew member Elliotte Ashcroft wrote on Facebook: “Thoughts and prayers and much love and support go out to the onboard crew, Daz, Sarahs family and all who knew this witty, ballsy, caring lady.”

Louise Thomas, a former teammate and close friend of Ms Young, said: “My boat wife, my best buddy has been taken away from me today and I’m absolutely heartbroken and devastated.”

Peter Thornton, skipper of the GREAT Britain yacht, another of the competing vessels, said: “Extremely sad news about Sarah and we are all quite shocked and suddenly acutely aware of where and what we are in this world.”

Her death comes six months after another crew member died aboard the boat.

Andrew Ashman, 49, from Kent, was killed on the yacht after being knocked unconscious while sailing off the Portuguese coast last September.