This is quite a personal post about the Clipper family and the tragic passing of Sarah Young. x
As most of my readers will know, Sarah Young (a Clipper Race crew member aboard Ichorcoal) sadly passed away after being swept off the boat on day 12 of the China to Seattle race.
When the news broke, I was actually at RORC welcoming Leg 5 crew home, and catching up with my training crew mates. Just a few minutes in to the evening, the sad announcement was made and silence fell across the club house. The mood was one of total shock and sadness. This is the 2nd fatality on the current race, and both fatalities have been aboard Ichorcoal.
That night and indeed since the news broke, I have talked of my Clipper family, as have so many others on social media, in the news, or to their friends. The Clipper family concept, is a funny thing to understand for ‘outsiders’, but for anyone involved with Clipper, you will instantly understand what it means to be part of the family without ever being told of its ‘virtual’ existence.
The Clipper Race attracts hundreds of people to every race, from countries worldwide, from all different walks of life, backgrounds, races, working lives, and financial standings. Everyone involved in Clipper is very different, but there is one thing that runs through us all… the need to challenge ourselves and to seek adventure. And it is that one thing alone that brings us all together. So what you end up with is a hugely diverse bunch of people that mix incredibly well, can talk rubbish for hours, can story tell (like you wouldn’t believe) and that often become very good friends either over training, racing, drinking, or whatever it may be! And this folks is what the Clipper Family is all about. It is about the bringing together of Clipper past racers, future racers, staff, and supporters. In sailing, and even more so with Ocean racing, there needs to be a great degree of trust, and this only enhances the ‘family feeling’ – the feeling that you can rely on these people, that you can moan and winge, that you can talk to them about virtually anything (including ridiculous topics, such as the meaning of life or what is out there in the universe!) – this is Clipper family… and everyone is welcome. I’ve already met some friends for life through Clipper, and I am sure that I have many friends yet to meet.
So when the news broke at RORC on Friday evening, being surrounded by my Clipper family – we talked, some of us hugged, some of us cried, others comforted, and we all without doubt reflected. But we were together, and that was what was important in that moment.
Over the last few days, I have witnessed people reaching out across social media to each other – total strangers, but like minded strangers that are part of this family. I myself have received many messages of support and condolence. Sarah’s death has affected us all – whether or not we knew her individually. She was one of us. She is in all of our thoughts, and our prayers, as are the crew and Skipper Darren aboard Ichorcoal. I know that we are all wishing them fair seas to Seattle, and we will not stop thinking of them until they are safely back on land (3.2k nm away).
Rest In Peace Sarah, you are forever in our thoughts.
“The meek inherit the earth, the brave will get the Oceans”
Sending my love to the whole Clipper family at this difficult time.