Sorrow among Londonderry crew at death of colleague

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The skipper and crew of the Derry-Londonderry-Doire have expressed shock and sadness after Sarah Young, aged 40, a crew member of the IchorCoal Clipper, swept over board and drowned in the Pacific late last week.

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, according to the IchorCoal skipper Darren Ladd.

She fell back toward the guard wire and was swept under it by another wave. She was not tethered onto the yacht at this time and was swept away in strong winds.

Sarah is the second IchorCoal crew member to have lost their lives during this edition of the round the world race after Andrew Ashman, aged 49, died after being struck on the head by rigging on board the boat in the Western Atlantic last year.

Derry-Londonderry-Doire skipper Daniel Smith issued the following statement on behalf of the local boat’s crew.

“The Skipper and entire crew of Derry~Londonderry~Doire extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and crewmates of Sarah Young.

“Such news is truly shocking as well as tragic.

“On occasions such as these, there is considerable soul searching all round with reflection and introspection upon what we value and care for most.

“Today must have been a hard day on board IchorCoal as they conducted their sea burial service for Sarah.

“They have been in our thoughts. After our lunch time meeting we read a poem that was also being used as part of her ceremony and joined in a one minute silence in order to allow the crew to reflect or pray.

“We pursue our passion in a sport which carries undoubted risks - we do this knowingly and it does not deter us. Rather, it is part of the attraction of the sport overall and which appeals to the adventurous amongst us.

“No words can capture the sadness we all feel at the loss of a fellow ‘Clipperati’ - a true adventurer by all accounts. May Sarah rest in peace.”

The Mayor, Elisha McCallion, said: “I am deeply saddened at the news and would like to extend my sincere sympathy, and those of the people of the city and district, to Sarah’s family at this very sad time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone associated with the Clipper Race, to all of the crew members, including members of our own Derry~Londonderry~Doire team, and the Clipper Round the World Race support team, who are affected by this tragic incident.

“From speaking with those associated with the Clipper Round the World Race, I understand that Sarah was a very popular team member , with a real passion for adventure and a real team player.

“Our city has a very close affiliation to the Clipper Round the World Race, this is our third time participating in the event and we are looking forward to welcoming the teams to our port next summer as a stopover location on the final stage of the Race.

“We will be making contact with the skipper and crew of the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht and Clipper Ventures over the weekend to express our condolences and to provide any support and assistance we can,” she added.