Saturday, 2 April 2016

Sarah Young - RIP

BBC Sport 
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder of the Clipper Round the World yacht race, has pledged a full investigation into the death of a British crew member.

Sarah Young, 40, was washed overboard in the Pacific Ocean and is the second person to die in this year's event.

Sir Robin said everyone involved in the race was in "shock" over the death.

The investigation will focus on why she was not tethered to the yacht, Sir Robin said, adding safety was a vital part of the sailors' training.

Fellow Briton Andrew Ashman, a crew member on the same boat, died after being knocked unconscious. in September.

Despite being amateurs, both Miss Young and Mr Ashman were experienced sailors.

Miss Young was tidying the cockpit of the IchorCoal yacht after reefing the mainsail when she was knocked from her position by a wave. She fell back towards the guard wire and was swept under it by another wave.

Rescue attempts were hampered by winds of up to 40 knots and her body was recovered more by her crewmates than an hour later.

Attempts were made to resuscitate Miss Young but she did not regain consciousness. She died at about 13:44 BST on Friday.

The cause of her death is yet to be confirmed but is suspected to be drowning or exposure, organisers said.

Sir Robin, who in 1969 became the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, told the BBC: "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."

It was an "appalling coincidence" that two crew members from the same yacht had died, he added.

Sir Robin described Miss Young as experienced as a "very popular member of the crew, a very easy person to like".

The IchorCoal yacht, pictured, set off on the latest leg of the race on 21 March

He went on: "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."

Miss Young, who was from London, was one of the sailors taking part in the entire round-the-world challenge.

The incident happened during the ninth race of the 14-stage event which started in August and covers more than 40,000 nautical miles.

Sarah Young
Sarah Young was taking part in the year-long race on the IchorCoal boat

Miss Young had already sailed more than half way round the globe, covering 20,000 nautical miles before setting off from the latest leg of the race on 21 March.

She had pulled out of part of the challenge after the death of her mother, organisers said.

Miss Young was the owner of a personal lifestyle company and prior to the Clipper Race had taken part in other expeditions, including mountaineering in Nepal. She had also run a marathon and was a qualified diving group leader.

Fellow IchorCoal crew member Eliotte Ashcroft wrote on Facebook that Miss Young was a "witty, ballsy, caring lady".

The boats are currently racing in the north Pacific, which is where Young was swept overboard

This latest stage of the race takes crews from Qingdao in China to Seattle in the United States and has 3,242 miles still to go.

The crew will now continue on their journey to Seattle.

Sir Robin said: "I should think they are in shock and will want to take it easy for a bit and I have to say I think if I was in their position I would do the same."

More than 700 crew members are participating in the 2015-16 race, which will end in London on 30 July.

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