Safety Warning After Second Death In Yacht Race

A British woman taking part in a round-the-world yacht race is the second person to have died during the event. The death occurred when Sarah Young, 40, was swept overboard the yacht she had been sailing on since late last year. Young was onboard the IchorCoal yacht in the Pacific Ocean competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race when she was swept overboard, according to the BBC.

The body of Young was recovered by her crewmates and race organizers said that they will bury her at sea. The British woman’s partner and aunt gave permission for Young, who was from London, to be buried out at sea because of the “long time it will take to reach closest landfall,” said race organizers. As soon as whether permits, Young will be buried in the ocean.

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has promised a full investigation into the death of the women that has “shocked” everyone participating in the race. The investigation will look into why Young was not tethered to the yacht when her death occurred.

Young is the second person to die in the 2015-2016 racing event and the two yacht deaths have created a somber mood in the racing world and on the IchorCoal. Fellow Briton Andrew Ashman, a crew member also from IchorCoal, died in September last year after being knocked unconscious on the yacht. The race has been running for 20 years and according to the Independent this is the second death to happen during the yacht race over the past two decades.

Despite the term “amateurs,” both Young and Ashman were experienced sailors, probing concerns for safety after the two yacht race deaths.

Crew members said Young was tidying the cockpit of the IchorCoal yacht during gale-force winds when she was knocked from her position by a strong wave according to the Independent. The force of the wave pushed her backwards and she fell towards the guard wire. She was then swept under the wire by another wave. Her body was recovered by her crew over an hour later but despite resuscitation efforts by her crewmates, Young never regained consciousness and time of death was put at 13:44 BST on Friday.

“We’ve only had two fatalities in something like 4,000 people, in 10 races around the world. It’s a shock to all of us and we want to find out exactly why it happened. Why wasn’t she hooked on? This is what I’ve got to establish,” Sir Robin, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, said.

Sir Robin knew Young and said she was experienced and a “very popular member of the crew, a very easy person to like.”

“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.”

Sir Robin said safety was always a focus during training before a yacht race.

“One of the things we really focus on in Clipper with the four weeks’ training is safety. That is the primary consideration, the one thing we drum into all crew.”

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The death occurred during the ninth race of the 14-stage event that covers more than 40,000 nautical miles. Young had already sailed 20,000 nautical miles since August, and had set off on March 21, when she was swept overboard.

Other sailors taking part in Clipper Round the World Yacht Race have reacted to the death during the yacht race and called it an awful coincidence that two deaths occurred on the same yacht so closely together. GREAT Britain skipper Peter Thornton gave a comment on the loss.

“Extremely sad news about Sarah and we are all quite shocked and suddenly acutely aware of where and what we are in this world.

“I cannot imagine what IchorCoal and her family are going through right now so our thoughts are with all who knew and loved Sarah.”

A former teammate of Young, Louise Thomas, said she was heartbroken upon hearing the news of the yacht race death and described Young as her “boat wife” and “best buddy.”

“My thoughts go out to those on board, her friends and family — and having been through this event before I know exactly what they’re going through and I wish I was there to support them,” she said.

Despite the two deaths during the race, the competition is continuing on. This latest stage of the race sees yachts sail from Qingdao in China, to Seattle in the United States, and crews still have 3,242 miles still to go. More than 700 crew members are continuing on with the 2015-16 race, which is set to end in London on July 30, if everything goes according to plan.

[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]