Clipper Race death report published
The Marine Accident Investigation
Branch (MAIB) has published an interim report on its investigation into the fatal accident of a crewmember during the 2015-16 Clipper Race. Andrew Ashman, 49, sailing aboard the Clipper yacht Ichorcoal, was killed on 4 September 2015 during an uncontrolled gybe 122 miles off the Portuguese coast.
The crew was preparing to reef the mainsail at midnight while sailing at 11 knots when the accident occurred.
The report states that Ashman was the watchleader at the time and that the crew was all wearing oilskins and lifejackets with tethers attached to secure points.
“Andrew was standing aft of the traveller rail and to port of the helmsman,” the report reads. “At approximately 2356, Andrew moved forward from the stern of the cockpit to brief his crew when the yacht suddenly moved across the swell and wind. This caused the wind to catch the leech of the mainsail pulling it back, causing tension on the gybe preventer line.
“The strop securing the preventer line to the bow broke, releasing the boom, which moved swiftly to starboard across the cockpit in an uncontrolled gybe. The yacht then performed a second uncontrolled gybe with the boom swinging back onto the port side, before the helmsman was able to regain control. During the uncontrolled gybes Andrew sustained a fatal neck injury and could not be resuscitated despite the efforts of his crew mates.”
The MAIB cautioned that there is the possibility new evidence may become available that might alter the final report.