Global ocean race fatalities ‘lapses in applying training’

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THE founder of a round-the-world yacht race has said improvements have been made after two people died.

A report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has today been published into the fatal accidents in the 2015-16 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The Gosport-based company was founded by Old Portsmouth resident Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Sir Robin said: ‘These two fatalities, resulting from two very different incidents, were the first in our long history and are tragic, especially as they were caused primarily through momentary lapses in applying basic safety training.’

Andrew Ashman, 49, a paramedic from Kent, died on September 4, 2015, a few days into the first stage of the race from London to Rio de Janeiro in the North Atlantic. Sarah Young, 40, from London, died on April 1, 2016, after day 12 of the North Pacific leg from Qingdao in China to Seattle in America.

The firm said the first fatality was a direct consequence of the crew member entering the cockpit danger zone, where they were struck by the mainsheet on the boom when the boat turned. The second was the consequence of the crew member not clipping on when on deck, which is mandatory on Clipper Race yachts.