CV30 GREAT Britain crewmember Simon Speirs died during the race after being washed overboard on Saturday. He was buried at sea yesterday (19 November)

Simon Speirs, a crew member on board CV30, GREAT Britain passed away after being washed overboard.

Simon, 60, from Bristol, was on the foredeck assisting with a headsail change from Yankee 3 when the accident happened.

Clipper Ventured said in a statement that Speirs was clipped on with his safety tether, but he became separated from the yacht in the Southern Ocean at approximately 0814UTC (1414 local time) in rough seas, in 20 knots of wind, gusting 40.

The team assisted immediately with man overboard recovery and despite the rough conditions, Simon was recovered back on board by Andy Burns, the skipper, and crew within 36 minutes. CPR was immediately administered by three medically trained crew, which included a GP.

However Speirs never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at 0925UTC. The cause of death is unconfirmed at this time but thought to be by drowning.

All other crew are reported safe and are being supported remotely by the Race Office.

The incident occurred on Day 18 in Race 3 of the 13 stage Clipper Race. The fleet was racing from South Africa, Australia. The yacht, which was in sixth place, currently has approximately 1,500 miles left to its destination.

At the time of the incident, Clipper Ventures says that Speirs was “clipped on, wearing his lifejacket, which included an AIS beacon, as well as approved waterproof ocean oilskins. A full investigation will now be carried out, as is standard practice, into the full details of the incident, including the reasons his safety tether did not keep him on board, in cooperation with the appropriate authorities.”

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A member of the crew since Race Start in the UK on August 20, 2017, Simon was an experienced sailor with over 40 years dinghy experience and a Coastal Skipper licence.

He also successfully completed the Clipper Race Coxswain Certificate (CRCC) in February this year in anticipation of his challenge. Designed in collaboration with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) specifically for the Clipper Race, this involved an intensive two-week course, in addition to the four weeks of compulsory training that all Clipper Race crew must complete which concentrates on safety at sea.

Simon Speirs’s family was informed and yesterday (19 November) he was buried at sea. 

“Following medical advice and all considerations, Simon Speirs was given a sea burial at 0900 local time (0300 UTC) today during a service on board CV30 held by his Skipper Andy Burns and crew, supported by the Clipper Race office. As requested by Simon’s family, who were fully aware and came together to follow it at the same time back home, it was a Christian service, and the rest of the Clipper Race fleet also joined them in solidarity as it was carried out. “, reads the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race statement.