Global race sailor killed when swept into Pacific 'witty, ballsy and caring'


An amateur sailor killed after being swept into the Pacific Ocean while competing in a global yacht race was a "witty, ballsy, caring lady" her friends said.

Sarah Young was washed into the sea by a six-foot wave as she tended to the mainsail aboard the IchorCoal, a 70ft yacht competing in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race.

The company owner from London, who embarked upon the challenge to mark her 40th birthday, is the second crew member to have been died on the vessel.

Last September, Andrew Ashman, 49, from Kent, was killed on the yacht after being knocked unconscious while sailing off the Portuguese coast.

Paying tribute to Ms Young on Facebook, fellow IchorCoal crew member Elliotte Ashcroft said she felt "sick and shocked by this totally awful news".

She wrote: "Thoughts and prayers and much love and support go out to the onboard crew, Daz, Sarahs family and all who knew this witty, ballsy, caring lady. X".

Louise Thomas, a former teammate and close friend of Ms Young, said: "My boat wife, my best buddy has been taken away from me today and I'm absolutely heartbroken and devastated.

"Sarah Young was lost overboard on my boat Ichorcoal today and unfortunately passed away.

"My thoughts go out to those on board, her friends and family and having been through this event before I know exactly what they're going through and I wish I was there to support them."

She added: "Sarah Young, I love you and you will forever remain in my heart. RIP."

Peter Thornton, skipper of the GREAT Britain yacht, another of the competing vessels, said: "Extremely sad news about Sarah and we are all quite shocked and suddenly acutely aware of where and what we are in this world.

"I cannot imagine what IchorCoal and her family are going through right now so our thoughts are with all who knew and loved Sarah."

Miss Young, who was not tethered to the yacht, died in the mid-north Pacific at around 1.44pm UK time on Friday, as the boat sailed in rough weather from China to Seattle, in America.

She was recovered from the sea, after being washed overboard, by crewmates who tried to resuscitate her but never regained consciousness, a race spokeswoman said.

The cause of death is yet to be confirmed but is thought to be drowning or exposure. 

Race organisers said a full investigation will be carried out, as is standard practice, in co-operation with the appropriate authorities.

Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: "On behalf of everyone at Clipper Ventures, I am deeply saddened by the loss of Sarah.

"She was a very popular and integral member of the Clipper Race family and knew our boats well, having sailed with us since London last summer."

Ms Young, who was a keen adventurer, had wanted to take part in the race for a number of years and celebrated her birthday days before setting sail from London at the end of last August.

The Clipper Race was established almost 20 years ago and this is its 10th edition. Ms Young and Mr Ashman are the only fatalities in the history of the race.

Ms Young was one of the sailors taking part in the entire round-the-world challenge and had already covered 20,000 nautical miles before setting off from the latest leg of the race on March 21.

She had pulled out of part of the challenge trip after her mother died, organisers said.

She was the director of Bespoke Establishments, a company which helps manage properties for wealthy clients, and had previously worked at Harrods, according to her LinkedIn page.

Race organisers said there is a "sombre mood" among the sailors as they continue the race following the tragedy.