British sailor Andrew Ashman was killed just after midnight Friday while reefing the mainsail during the Clipper Round the World Race, which left London in late August. He was 49.
A paramedic from southeast London, Mr. Ashman was sailing with the IchorCoal boat (CV21). Seas were moderate as a strong breeze was building to Force 6 (24-30 mph / 21-27 knots), about 120nm off the Portuguese coast heading south toward Brazil in the first leg of the race, organizers said in a statement.
The boat’s skipper, Darren Ladd, reports that Mr. Ashman was knocked unconscious by the mainsheet and possibly the boom. He He never regained consciousness.
This is the 10th edition of the race since being established almost 20 years ago. Mr. Ashman’s death is its first fatality. More than 3,300 sailors have competed in the 11-month race that stretches 40,000 miles.
All the boats in the race observed a moment of silence today in Mr. Ashman’s honor.
“Holding a fleet-wide minute’s silence in memory of our lost shipmate Andrew Ashman is a truly lovely thing to do,” Deputy Race Director Mark Light said in a message to all racers today. “A short time to reflect, remember and push on toward your (and Andy’s) goal of sailing the world’s oceans. I am sure that Andy’s family and Andy himself would be proud of all of you. Stay strong and keep the flag flying.”