CV24’S skipper had 23 years of professional experience in a range of boats, including racing yachts and superyachts. He held a commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster (Ocean) qualification, but he clearly had too much on his plate.
He only joined the boat at Punta del Este for legs two and three after the original Greenings skipper damaged his hand on the first leg. There was no assigned navigator at the time of the grounding – two were listed but both were on the off-watch crew. Paper charts were not in use; no waypoints, tracks nor danger areas were set on the plotter; the radar was switched off and the depth information was not on display at the helm station.
In addition to the grounding and loss of CV4 and CV24, the MAIB holds records of 17 other groundings of Clipper yachts in the five years prior to this accident, and one since. The report shows how all have similarities, including: the skipper being distracted from navigation; the nav station not being manned in coastal waters; a lack of adequate situational awareness by the crew on deck and an underestimation of the time required for deck evolutions to be conducted safely.
On the very next leg after this incident, the Clipper race reported its third fatality (the third in the event’s 21-year history) when Simon Speirs, 60, a retired property solicitor from Bristol, fell overboard while on the foredeck helping change the yacht’s headsail in the race from Cape Town to Australia on 18 November. This triggered immediate action from the MCA, requiring the fleet be manned in accordance with the SCV Code.