Amateur sailor and company owner Sarah Young was laid to rest at sea on Sunday by her Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crew mates. The 40-year-old died after being knocked overboard by a wave into the Pacific Ocean during the race.

4 April

Young, who was onboard the IchorCoal boat, is the second British fatality during this edition of the race. Andrew Ashman from Orpington, Kent died on the same boat last September. The 49-year-old was knocked unconscious by the mainsheet.

Young was buried at sea just after 0100 UK time yesterday (3 April). At the request of her partner, family and friends, three readings were delivered including The Sailing Ship by Bishop Brent and Sea Fever by John Masefield.

The 11 other Clipper Race skippers and crew members paid their own mark of respect, holding their own one minute’s silence at the same time as the on-board ceremony.

Skipper of the IchorCoal, Darren Ladd says the burial was “one of the hardest days of my life” and that Young “would be sadly missed”.

“Sarah was a valued crew member and amazing victualler,” he said.
“On deck she was fearless and could often be found at the bow wrestling with headsails, or up the mast wrestling wrapped spinnakers, even below decks wrestling crew to protect the biscuit ration. She was a great wrestler, never lost a biscuit.

“The crew stood on deck with all the courage and dignity we could muster, read a few of Sarah’s favourite prayers and poetry, before holding a minute’s silence. The ceremony was ended with a beautiful traditional Zulu song sung by our Sapinda Rainbow Ambassador, Charlotte.

“Today has been one of the hardest days of my life. Never under-estimate the value of friendship and of team spirit. The support via email has been over-whelming and absolutely invaluable. Life is finite and often far too short.
“Sarah was an adventurer and lived life to the full. She died an adventurer’s death battling the elements circumnavigating the globe. I wish we could have said goodbye properly, we all do. The ceremony was for Sarah on behalf of all those that were fortunate enough to know her.”, he concludes.

Sarah’s IchorCoal teammate on Leg 6, Charlie Stannard, a fellow Londoner who turns 21 this week added, “After the tragic loss of one of our crew members during a man overboard incident the team and myself are battling through it after laying Sarah to rest earlier today. The team has grown from strength to strength and we are currently averaging around 10 knots on course for Seattle meaning we will be there in around 15-20 days.”.

The Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Office said in a statement that the decision to bury Young at sea was made following consultation with her partner, family, friends and crew, as well as the Maritime Coastguard Agency and the race’s medical advisors

“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.”

Young died on day 12 of the ninth race in the 14-stage of the 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. An investigation into the full details of the incident is ongoing.

2 April 2016

The Londoner was on board the IchorCoal boat in the Pacific Ocean when she was knocked overboard. Her cause of death hasn’t been confirmed yet but organisers said it’s likely to be drowning or exposure.

Young is the second Briton to die in the Clipper race. Paramedic Andrew Ashman, from Orpington Kent, died on the same boat last September. The 49-year-old was knocked unconscious by the mainsheet.

The Clipper Round The World Yacht Race have released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to report the death of crew member Sarah Young (40), a company owner from London. Sarah was one of the crew aboard the IchorCoal boat (CV21). 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.

Sarah was the owner of a personal lifestyle company providing services for private high net worth individuals. A keen adventurer, the Clipper Race had been an ambition of hers for some years, and she said celebrating her 40th birthday just before setting sail from London was the perfect way to start her adventure.

Prior to the Clipper Race she had done other expeditions including spending a year in Sabah, northern Borneo, working for Raleigh Malaysia. Sarah had also led teams in Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, had been mountaineering in Nepal and did a world-first 18 day trek down the Skeleton Coast unsupported. Sarah had also run a marathon and was a Divemaster. She leaves a partner but no children.

Sarah was one of the round the world crew and aside from missing a couple of races in Australia due to the passing of her Mother, she had sailed more than half the way round the world, with over 20,000 nautical miles of racing under her belt between London and China, where the yacht had departed on March 21.

A full investigation will now be carried out, as is standard practice, into the full details of the incident in cooperation with the appropriate authorities. Race Officials are now supporting the Skipper and the crew through this tragic ordeal.

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.”

The Clipper Race was established almost 20 years ago and this is its tenth edition. This is the second fatality in the history of the race. Over 4,000 amateur crew have been trained and participated in previous races. 709 crew are participating in the 2015-16 edition which left London at the end of August, and will return there on 30 July 2016.

  • Shane Kennedy

    Sarah, though I never knew you, I miss you. Mariners and Avaitors share the same ethic, if someone needs help, they do whatever they can to assist, and don’t count the cost.