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Yacht crew dies in accident on S/Y Germania Nova

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By Dorie Cox

Deckhand Bethany Smith, 18, died in an accident onboard S/Y Germania Nova, a 181-foot schooner, on March 14 in Jamaica. She was cleaning the 196-foot mast when the ropes became undone and she fell to the deck, according to the BBC. She was transported to Port Antonio Hospital where she died from multiple injuries.

The yacht was docked in the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica according to Christine Downer, acting marina manager.

Ms. Smith had worked on the schooner since February 2016, including a transAtlantic crossing and a charter season in the Mediterranean. She spent much of her life sailing with her mother, Sarah, father, David and younger brother, Bryn. They left Wales in 2007 onboard the family’s 43-foot monohull S/Y Cape and spent three years cruising the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and west Africa before crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean.

Bethany Smith

Photo from www.gofundme.com/the-bethany-smith-memorial-fund

In her blog (Flutingtootingbethany), Ms. Smith wrote that she and her family had visited 19 countries in nine years. In entries dated in 2015, Ms. Smith described her work as a volunteer at a school teaching English to disadvantaged teens, sailboat racing with her brother in Grenada Sailing week, and dockwalking in Antibes where she dayworked on S/Y Rowdy, which led to her joining the crew for Antibes Panerai Classic Regatta.

She had completed her Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) crew training that year.

The yacht’s charter management company, Hill Robinson, released a statement regarding the incident.

“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and fellow crew members at this very difficult time,” the statement read. “Hill Robinson and the owners are doing everything possible to support the family and friends and, of course, an immediate investigation is already under way.”

Staff from the Errol Flynn Marina also offered support.

“We would like to express our condolences to the captain, crew and family in their time of grief and will continue to offer any assistance needed to get them through the process,” Downer said.

S/Y Germania Nova
Photo by Everard Owen of Jamaica Observer online.

To read the online accounts visit Jamaica Observer and BBC:

Click to read Ms. Smith’s blog Flutingtootingbethany.

Click to visit GoFundMe.

 

PREVIOUS POST MARCH 15

A yacht crew member died in an accident onboard S/Y Germania Nova yesterday (March 14) in Jamaica. Her identity has not been confirmed but an email from the charter and yacht manager, Hill Robinson, stated that next of kin have been notified and an investigation into the incident has been started.

The sailing yacht was docked in the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica according to the Jamaica Observer online. The news source initially reported that a male had died and later revised the story to say the deceased is female and that she fell off the yacht while working onboard.

“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and fellow crew members at this very difficult time,” stated the email. “Hill Robinson and the owners are doing everything possible to support the family and friends and of course an immediate investigation is already underway.”

The unnamed crew was reportedly taken to the local Port Antonio Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Click to read the Jamaica Observer account.

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One thought on “Yacht crew dies in accident on S/Y Germania Nova

  1. W. Shelby Coates, Jr

    I have just returned to my Newport, R.I., residence from the Newport Shipyard where I picked up the April Triton and read that jarring obituary. It brought back a horrible memory; nevertheless, you did suggest comments.
    In the seventies my law firm represented Moore-McCormack Lines in litigation brought by a seaman who survived (barely) such a fall. It was an oceangoing dry cargo ship and he was high on one of the cargo masts, in port, cleaning the “cross-trees.” He had rigged the line supporting his Bos’n chair over a diamond-shaped rung of the vertical ladder attached to the mast and the line parted. He fell on a cargo winch below, suffering multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen. He alleged that the shipowner had supplied a defective line and I was duty-bound to argue on behalf of my client that he was guilty of contributory negligence in the manner in which he had rigged the line. I tried the case but settled it, while the jury was out deliberating, for big bucks. It had the potentiality of being a huge verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
    Bethany Smith seems to have been so experienced. How the “ropes became undone” (rather than parted) sounds, sadly, preventable. What a tragedy!
    Regards, W. Shelby Coates, Jr

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