MAIB report into Clipper Race drowning published

Simon Speirs drowned while taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
Simon Speirs drowned while taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
An example of a tether hook and a tether hook after lateral loading
An example of a tether hook and a tether hook after lateral loading
Industry Database

The MAIB has published its initial report into the drowning of Simon Speirs in November 2017 while taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Mr Speirs was on board the yacht GREAT Britain (CV30) during the third leg of the race when he fell overboard during a headsail change.

He was attached to the yacht by his safety harness tether however the hook at the end of the tether that was clipped to a jack-line, deformed and released resulting in him becoming separated from the yacht.

He was recovered unconscious onto the yacht however other crew members were not able to resuscitate him.

Three-point webbing tether

The MAIB’s initial findings state Mr Speirs was using a three-point webbing tether attached to the integral harness of his lifejacket that allowed him to clip on to the yacht with a short or long tether.

The investigation found the hook on the end of Mr Speirs’ tether had become caught under a deck cleat resulting in a lateral loading that was sufficient to cause the hook to distort and release.

Although the harness tether complied with international safety standards, the standard contains detailed testing requirements that assume the tether and its hooks will be loaded longitudinally rather than laterally.

Loaded longitudinally

When loaded longitudinally, the tether can withstand a load of more than one tonne. However, when loaded laterally a tether hook will deform at much less load.

“It is important that tether hooks remain clear of obstructions and are free to rotate to align the load longitudinally,” stated the MAIB report.

“To prevent the strength of a safety harness tether becoming compromised in-service due to lateral loading on the tether hook, the method used to anchor the end of the tether to the vessel should be arranged to ensure that the tether hook cannot become entangled with deck fittings or other equipment.”

The MAIB says this issue is just one of several potential factors that contributed to Mr Speirs’ death.

The investigation is continuing.

Latest Press Releases

Riding4Dreams Team will be Training and Fundraising at The Thames Valley and London Boat Show

A team of twelve including marine industry professionals will be riding from London to Paris from th... Read more

Back to the Future - Christian Brewer returns to Barton Marine

Christian Brewer has returned to Barton Marine as Global Sales Manager. Read more

Fairline Yachts unveils new Squadron 68 model

Luxury British boat builder, Fairline Yachts, announces details of its stunning new Squadron 68, set... Read more

MS Amlin Yacht to exhibit at Thames Valley & London Boat Show

MS Amlin Yacht announce that they will be exhibiting at the inaugural Thames Valley & London Boat Sh... Read more

South Devon Marine Academy appoints ADPR to help inspire the next generation of the marine industry

Communications agency, ADPR, has been brought on-board to help South Devon Marine Academy raise awar... Read more

Fusion® Entertainment Honoured with Industry Award for Product Innovation

Fusion® Entertainment, a worldwide leader in marine audio entertainment, announced today that the Ap... Read more

View all