IchorCoal Resumes Racing

08 September 2015

IchorCoal has officially resumed Race 1 following the tragic fatal accident to crew member Andy Ashman on Saturday.

The team departed Douro Marina in Porto, Portugal at 1120 local time and were seen off by Sir Robin, Justin Taylor and members of the Race Team along with Keith Ashman and other crew’s family members.

The move followed Skipper Darren Ladd and his team’s unanimous decision to keep racing, which had the full support of Andy’s brother Keith who has been with the crew in Porto for the last two days.

Before setting sail, the IchorCoal team paid tribute to Andy by adding a personal message to the yacht. Skipper Darren explains: “Andy had his own catch phrase as anytime I asked him to do something he would say ‘Roger that boss.’ It became a bit of a joke amongst all of us that when we talk about Andy we all say ‘Roger that.’ In his memory and in his honour, we have stuck those words on to the transom so it’s both amusing and emotional for us as a crew, and a way of keeping him with us all on the rest of the race.”

Highlighting the added strength provided to the team by the presence of Keith, Darren says: “Andy’s brother Keith came out to Porto and has been a massively positive force for the team. It was hard emotionally at first to meet him. I am very close to my own brother so it was tough imagining how he must be feeling but he has been so positive, very upbeat and telling us lots of amusing stories about Andy. In turn we have told him a lot about how Andy affected us as a very outgoing guy and how we all loved him. If Keith could have come with us today then I think he would.”

Before the team departed Sir Robin announced how Andy will also be marked in every Clipper Race to come as he explained: “We have Ocean Sprints in every race in which we set two marks and the fastest boat between them claims two bonus points. We have decided to name the first Ocean Sprint the Andy Ashman Memorial Plate. This is a trophy we will continue to award in future races too.”

Andy’s experience as a paramedic and a watch leader made him a very popular character on board. In the short time he was part of the IchorCoal team and Clipper Race family he left a lasting impression on everyone. His fellow crew member Ian Kamcke says: “We’ll never forget Andy. You could never forget him. I sailed with him on the delivery from Gosport to St Katharine Docks. Anyone who had a minor cut or felt slightly ill, he was there for them. It is just such a shame that we could do nothing for him in the circumstances.”

“During the time in the hotel over the past few days we have pulled together. You’re there talking to people and the emotions build up. We have cried together, then we’d have a hug, clear it and you might be alright for a little while. Reading the messages of support from home made it very, very difficult, but also those messages have helped us grieve and get through it.”

As he prepared the team to slip its lines and bid farewell until Rio, Sir Robin said: “I’ve been incredibly impressed by the strength and positive determination of Skipper Darren and every member of his team. I think they have absolutely made the right decision to resume the race which is also by far the best way to honour Andy.

“Andy was very inspirational to them on board. He was always pushing them forward and I think the IchorCoal team’s strength will now come through in a form of determination. They will feel they have got to do it and I’m expecting them to sail rather well from here on.”

This sentiment was echoed throughout the crew before setting off: “We are excited to go now,” added Darren.

“We have obviously still got some soul searching and grieving to do, but different people are affected at different times, and the best way to deal with that is as a team. We are absolutely going to support each other through this. We are going to focus on the race and use the emotions that we feel as a positive force to carry on.”

Click here to see the Race Viewer and follow IchorCoal and the rest of the race fleet in Race 1 to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Click here to watch the IchorCoal team and rest of the fleet pay tribute to Andy during Race 1.

Join The Race