Fatality on Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

Published on September 7th, 2015

The 40,000 mile Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on August 30 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. But on one of the entries, crew member Mr Andrew Ashman (49) – a paramedic from Orpington, Kent – incurred a fatal injury on September 5.

Mr Ashman was an experienced yachtsman and was one of the crew aboard the Clipper Race yacht CV21, registered in Portsmouth, and branded by its South African team sponsor as IchorCoal. All other crew are safe and well.

The boat’s skipper Darren Ladd reports that Mr Ashman was involved in reefing the main sail, reducing its sail area, in moderate seas just after midnight local time in a strong breeze building to Force 6 (24-30 mph / 21-27 knots), approximately 120 nautical miles off the Portuguese coast heading south towards Brazil in the first leg of the race.

Mr Ashman was knocked unconscious by the mainsheet and possibly the boom (although not confirmed). Mr Ashman was given immediate medical assistance and attempted resuscitation but failed to regain consciousness. CV21 was diverted to Porto, Portugal where it arrived early September 6.

Following the completion of interviews on September 7 by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the UK Government’s Department of Transport, the crew of CV21 – IchorCoal has decided to resume racing at the earliest opportunity and will depart Porto on the Atlantic coast of northern Portugal at approximately 1100 local/BST (1000 UTC) tomorrow: Tuesday 8 September 2015.

The Clipper Race was established almost 20 years ago and this is its tenth edition. This is the first fatality in the history of the race. Over 3,300 amateur crew have been trained and participated in previous races. 700 crew are due to participate in the 2015-16 edition which left London at the end of August.

Clipper Race Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston stated: “This is extremely sad news and my heart goes out to his bereaved family and friends, and to his fellow crew who have come to know Andrew with great affection during his training and the early days of this race. Safety is always our utmost priority, as our record shows, and we shall investigate the incident immediately in full cooperation with the authorities.”

Mr Ashman was single, with no dependents. His Family has been informed. He was due to participate in the current race to Brazil, the Southern Ocean and USA coast-to-coast legs of the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

Mr Ashman had enjoyed sailing since joining the London Sailing project when he was 16. He went on to complete his Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Yachtmaster Theory and Coastal Skipper courses.

The Clipper Race fleet is owned and operated by Clipper Ventures. It comprises twelve identical yachts under the command of highly experienced professional skippers.

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Background: The 40,000 mile Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on August 30 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The series is divided into 16 individual races, with the team with the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew.

The teams are on the first leg from London, England to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The ports along the race route are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Airlie Beach, Australia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London by late July.

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