Clipper Fleet Competing In Honour Of Lost Crewmember
Published: Thursday, 10 September 2015
Close competitive racing in the first leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race from London to Rio has been overshadowed this week by the death of IchorCoal crewmember, Andy Ashman.
After safely navigating the Bay of Biscay, increasing wind speeds propelled the fleet along the Portuguese coast. As the team aboard the South African sponsored yacht put in a reef to reduce sail area the 49-year-old paramedic from South East London was knocked unconscious and failed to recover despite immediate medical assistance and expert remote guidance.
This was the first fatality in the 19-year history of the 40,000 nautical mile race that has trained over 3,300 people to participate safely in nine previous editions of the biennial global event.
Messages of support from his family and friends encouraged the team to continue as it is ‘what Andy would have wanted’.
While the team aboard IchorCoal went ashore at Porto, in northern Portugal, the Clipper Race fleet paid their respects, flew their Red Ensigns at half-mast, and raced on as the most fitting tribute.
At the front of the fleet the duel continued between GREAT Britain and LMAX Exchange. But the two have now split with LMAX Exchange taking a clear lead of more than 160 nautical miles closer to the finish in Rio after taking better winds further east, racing through the Canary Islands and then close to the West Saharan coast.
The Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire is neck-and-neck with GREAT Britain further west, but they could be overtaken by Qingdao and Garmin hoping to copy the LMAX Exchange manoeuvre through the Canaries.
The fleet is spread over some 500 nautical miles with around 4000 nautical miles of racing still ahead of it.
Clipper Race officials led by founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston met the IchorCoal crew in Porto. After time to reflect they came to the unanimous joint decision to continue racing and return to sea as soon as possible.
Andrew’s brother Keith Ashman flew out to reinforce the family’s support for the team’s decision and waved them off as they headed out to resume racing.
On the broad transom at the stern of their 70-foot ocean racing yacht the team wrote “For Andy. Roger that!” – one of Andy’s favourite responses.
The team has been awarded redress for the incident to compensate the time lost. The Race Committee has decided to award a time redress of 81 hours and one minute to IchorCoal. This is calculated on the time from the accident until the yacht commenced racing of 85 hours and 52 minutes, less the time the yacht gained by re-starting 41.2 miles further along the racecourse, which, at their average speed at the time of the accident of 8.7 knots, is 4 hours and 51 minutes.
This 81 hours and one minute will be deducted from IchorCoal’s finishing time in Rio de Janeiro to give the team’s overall position on Race 1.
As a lasting tribute the Atlantic Ocean Sprint, a short section of the racetrack off the Brazilian coast where extra points are awarded for the fastest team between two points, will be named in Andy’s honour. The fastest team will receive a special trophy, the ‘Andy Ashman Memorial Plate’ in Rio and it will continue to be awarded in future editions of the Clipper Race.