The boat carrying a deceased sailor who died of a heart attack was discovered several weeks before showing up in the Philippines.

8 March

In response to media speculation, the Clipper Round the World Race has issued a clarification regarding the details surrounding their discovery of the deceased man believed to be German national Manfred Fritz Bajorat.

In short, the information is the same that YBW reported yesterday after contacting Clipper Race personnel for clarification and confirmation.

The team of the LMAX Exchange racing yacht encountered Bajorat’s yacht, Sayo, on 31 January, boarded the yacht, confirmed that there was a dead body in a state of decay on board, contacted the UK Coastguard and waited on the scene until they received permission to depart.

Clipper Race officials have provided a video and photographs chronicling the event, which they chose not to release until now out of respect to the sailor — who was at the time unidentified — and his family. The video can be seen above and two of the photos are in this story.

The full text of the clarification is below. YBW will continue to update this story as further details emerge.


The Clipper Race statement said: “At 0624 UTC on 31 January, the LMAX Exchange team ceased competition during Race 7 of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, from Airlie Beach, Australia, to Da Nang – Viet Nam, to examine an abandoned yacht found drifting in its path (11 38N / 137 46E – 650nM east of Philippines and 470nM west of Guam). One of the crew swam out and boarded the Sayo yacht, where the sole occupant was unfortunately found dead, in a state of advanced decomposition.

“After liaising with the US Coast Guard in Guam on the finding and location, and Falmouth Coast Guard, the team was instructed to carry on racing as it could provide no further assistance, while USCG Guam took over the investigation. Clipper Race Director Justin Taylor also notified the German Embassy in London, who informed the German Police and Coast Guard, who were then able to trace the sailor’s next of kin via the boat registration details provided by the team.

“We first made reference to the finding of the boat on 31 January, and again in our Daily Race Report on 1 March when the deceased sailor was re-discovered and the finding was made public in international news reports.

“A statement made by the team reports: ‘As reported, the crew of LMAX Exchange spotted a boat adrift off the coast of Guam. In the spirit of the Clipper Race and the crew of team LMAX Exchange, we put the racing aside in the hope of assisting the stricken vessel and any fellow sailors marooned.

‘After boarding the drifting vessel, we unfortunately discovered the body of a lone sailor. We remained on site, under instruction, until released by the USCG who continued with the recovery.

‘As a team we found comfort that he was found and that peace will be given to his friends and family who have been looking for him. Our words and thoughts were shared for the sailor as he now rests in peace.’

“Whilst it is necessary to explain whenever one of our Clipper Race teams stops racing, it was out of respect that we chose not to publicise the full details of the finding. We hoped to avoid causing unnecessary alarm within the international sailing community by announcing the death of a then unknown sailor.

“As a company, we also felt it was inappropriate to create a news story out of such tragic circumstances, plus the experience was quite distressing for the crew member who went aboard, who does not wish to talk publicly about it.

“We feel desperately saddened for Mr Bajorat’s family who have now been subjected to the publication of graphic images. Our thoughts remain as ever with them.”, the statement concludes.


An LMAX Exchange crew member swimming to investigate the dismasted Sayo yacht.


7 March

A yacht carrying a mummified sailor was spotted by a Clipper Round the World Race team some four weeks prior to being discovered and brought into port in the Philippines in late February.

A spokeswoman for Clipper Ventures said: “We have confirmed this was the same yacht. One of the crew discovered the man and we reported it to the USCG and German police who were able to trace the man’s next of kin. We didn’t feel it out place to break the news out of respect to his family, and at the time of reporting his identity was not known.”

An autopsy into the death of the sailor — believed to be German national Manfred Fritz Bajorat — determined the sailor died of a heart attack approximately seven days before his body was discovered partially mummified by salty, humid air, seated next to the radio in his 40ft yacht Sayo.

A post in the Clipper Round the World Race’s online log dated 31 January said: “LMAX Exchange has resumed the Da Nang New Discovery of Asia Race after suspending racing at 0624 UTC following sight of a yacht that had been de-masted, drifting in position 11 38N / 137 46E. 650nM east of Philippines and 470nM west of Guam.

“After boarding the yacht and communicating with the US Coast Guard of Guam, LMAX Exchange stayed on scene to examine the situation and report back findings. The team was also in constant contact with Race Director Justin Taylor who also communicated with Falmouth Coast Guard.”

YBW has contacted the US Coast Guard and the UK Coast Guard and will update this story with any further details.


2 March 

The autopsy findings over the death of a German sailor who was found mummified on a stricken yacht have ruled that the man died of a heart attack a week prior to his vessel running into trouble.

The vessel was found by two fishermen on Friday 26 February in the Philippines. Upon inspecting the boat, the men were faced with the grisly sight of a mummified man sat by the radio equipment and promptly alerted local police.

National police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor told the Agence France Presse (AFP): “The cause of death is acute myocardial infarction based on the autopsy by (the) regional crime laboratory. The German national is estimated to have been dead for more or less seven days”.

Manfred Fritz Bajorat’s daughter is expected to fly to the Philippines to identify her father’s body.


29 February

A yacht containing the body of a German sailor has been recovered from waters southeast of the Philippines archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.

Two fishermen came upon the drifting 40ft yacht, Sayo, some 40 miles from the Philippine coast on Friday 26 February and reportedly boarded to investigate.

Christopher Rivas, 23, from Barobo, in the Philippine province of Suriago del Sur, was fishing with an unidentified companion when he spotted the yacht and noticed that its mast was broken.

Upon boarding the vessel, Rivas reportedly discovered the partially decomposed body of an adult man, seated near radio equipment. The cabin was partly submerged with the man’s clothing, food and personal items strewn about its interior.

The fishermen attached a line to the yacht and towed it near to the Barobo shore, where they were able to contact local police around 4pm (local time) Friday.

Police identified the man as Manfred Fritz Bajorat, 59, using documents found on the boat.

His body was taken for an autopsy in Butuan City, while the yacht was towed for a police inspection into the port of Barobo.

Police spokeswoman Goldie Lou Siega in the Philippines told the Daily Mirror that the death was not being treated as suspicious: “We have no evidence of a second person aboard and no weapon was found on the yacht.”

Police are attempting to determine when Barjorat died by tracing his last-known voyages and are seeking anyone who had contact with him. Bajorat reportedly split from his wife, with whom he sailed, in 2008. She later died, but he is believed to have a daughter called Nina who captains a freight vessel.

The German embassy in Manila is working with local officials to trace his family in Germany.

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