ANTIGUA RACE WEEK SAILORS LOST AT SEA
News of the loss of four British yachtsmen returning from Antigua Race Week to the UK has shaken the Caribbean sailing community. Lost from the yacht Cheeki Rafiki are Paul Goslin, 56; Steve Warren, 52; skipper Andrew Bridge, 22; and 22-year-old James Male.
The yacht activated two 406MHz personal locator beacons 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Friday May 16th. This resulted in a search by aircraft of the US Coast Guard.
At approximately midday on Saturday May 17th, the crew from the 1,000-foot motor vessel Maersk Kure located an overturned hull that matched the description of the Cheeki Rafiki, but found no sign of the sailors. Following reports from the ship it was thought the missing men could be adrift in the 12-man liferaft the Beneteau First 40.7 was known to be carrying.
After searching more than 4,000-square-miles of ocean, over a period of 53 hours, the US Coast Guard suspended their active search at 5:00am, Sunday May 18th.
Following a huge social media campaign – with the hashtag #FindOurSailors – and online petitions with more than 200,000 signatures, and a request from the UK Government, the Coast Guard announced they were resuming the search on Tuesday May 20th.
The search was carried out by aircraft of the US Coast Guard, the Rescue Wing U.S. Air National Guard, the Canadian Coast Guard, and the RAF.
After a Navy warship relocated the overturned sailing vessel on Friday May 23rd, search planners confirmed the boat’s life raft was secured in its storage space in the aft portion of the boat, indicating the crew had been unable to deploy it. Following this discovery, Coast Guard suspended its search later that day.
HONORS FOR CARIBBEAN SAILOR NIKKI BARNES
Nikki Barnes of St. Thomas, USVI, has been named Outstanding Female Freshman Athlete of the Year at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Sailing as skipper, Barnes helped to earn the CGA its first berths into both the Co-Ed and Women’s Intercollegiate National Championships in nearly 30 years. Nikki’s parents are All At Sea senior writer Carol Bareuther and photographer Dean Barnes.