Friends of Cheeki Rafiki skipper Andrew Bridge will complete this year's Round Britain and Ireland race in memory of the missing crew

Friends of Cheeki Rafiki skipper
Andrew Bridge will take part in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in
memory of the crew.

The 21-year-old was due to lead his
friends in the yacht race around Britain, but tragically went missing in the
Atlantic last month after the Cheeki Rafiki capsized.

The Round Britain and Ireland Race will
set off from Cowes on 10 August with
11 different nations taking part.

Crewmember and retired police officer
Roger Swift said: “We wanted to do the race in memory of Andy who should have been
with us.

“It will be a bittersweet occasion for
us. Even just getting together to train for the first time next weekend will be
bittersweet. Cheeki Rafiki should
have been back in her home port of Southampton and we should have been out training
on her with Andy.” 

The crew for this year’s race includes
Nicky Evans who began the online petition calling on the US Coast Guard to
resume the search for the missing men.

“I think it will be particularly hard
for Nicky as when we last sailed with Andy she was very ill and he really
looked after her”, Mr Swift added.

The crew also recently raised more than
£20,000 for the RNLI following the tragedy.

Along with the fundraising by Andrew’s
friends, an RNLI tribute fund has been set up by the families of the Cheeki
crew. They want to raise money to promote the work of the RNLI and to
fund personal locator beacons for RNLI crew.

Andrew Bridge was one of four
crewmembers heading back to Southampton having competed in Antigua Sailing Week.

The group, including Paul Goslin, Steve
Warren and James Male, got into difficulties when their Beneteau First 40.7 began
taking on water on 15 May around 1,000 miles off Cape Cod.

Communication with the crew was lost
the next day and after extensive searches by the US Coast Guard, the men were
unable to be found.

The yacht’s upturned hull was later
located and investigators found the unused liferaft still on board.

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