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Tragic global yacht race sailor to be buried at sea

Published 02/04/2016

An amateur sailor who died after being swept into the Pacific Ocean while competing in a global yacht race will be buried at sea, organisers said.

Sarah Young, 40, was washed into the sea by a large wave as she tended to the mainsail aboard her 70ft yacht.

The company owner from London is the second crew member to have died on the IchorCoal vessel during the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race.

Race organisers said they had permission from Ms Young's partner and family to bury her at sea.

In a statement, organisers said: "Following guidance from the doctor and our medical advisers and consultation with the Maritime Coastguard Agency, plus Sarah's partner, friends, family and the crew, we have decided to proceed with a burial at sea as soon as weather conditions permit, because of the long time it will take to reach closest landfall."

Ms Young, who was not tethered to the yacht, died in the mid-north Pacific at around 1.44pm UK time on Friday as the boat sailed in rough weather from China to Seattle, in America.

She was recovered from the sea, after being washed overboard, by crewmates who tried to resuscitate her, but she never regained consciousness, a race spokeswoman said.

Her body is expected to be laid to rest at sea on Saturday evening in a ceremony which will draw on centuries-old maritime traditions.

Race organisers said: "The yacht has been sent details of the burial at sea ceremony which has been used for centuries by mariners, along with some personal readings from her loved ones, and will advise the race office with at least two hours' notice when they are ready to proceed.

"We appreciate that this will be a difficult and emotional time for the crew, the entire fleet and the whole Clipper Race family. Our thoughts remain with them all and with Sarah's partner, family and friends at this difficult time.

"Sarah was much loved, and will be missed deeply by all who knew her. On behalf of her family and friends, they have asked us to request that they are now allowed to grieve and remember Sarah in peace."

Ms Young's parents are both deceased and she has no siblings. Race organisers said they have been in touch with her elderly aunt in New Zealand who gave the ceremony her blessing.

Friends of Ms Young, who was director of Bespoke Establishments which helps manage properties for wealthy clients, said they are "heartbroken" at her tragic death.

Fellow IchorCoal crew member Elliotte Ashcroft wrote on Facebook: "Thoughts and prayers and much love and support go out to the onboard crew, Daz, Sarahs family and all who knew this witty, ballsy, caring lady."

Louise Thomas, a former teammate and close friend of Ms Young, said: "My boat wife, my best buddy has been taken away from me today and I'm absolutely heartbroken and devastated."

Peter Thornton, skipper of the GREAT Britain yacht, another of the competing vessels, said: "Extremely sad news about Sarah and we are all quite shocked and suddenly acutely aware of where and what we are in this world."

Her death comes six months after another crew member died aboard the boat.

Andrew Ashman, 49, from Kent, was killed on the yacht after being knocked unconscious while sailing off the Portuguese coast last September.

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From Belfast Telegraph