Accidents on board yacht CV21 resulting in loss of 2 lives

Locations: 122 miles west of Porto, Portugal (accident 1) | mid-Pacific (accident 2).

Accident Investigation Report 7/2017

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened and safety lessons learned:

MAIB investigation report 7-2017: CV21

Annexes to MAIB investigation report 7-2017

Photograph of the yacht CV21 (image: Clipper Ventures plc)

Photograph courtesy of Clipper Ventures plc


During the Clipper Round the World Race of 2015/16 while 122 miles west of Porto, Portugal on 4 September 2015, a crew member sustained a fatal injury during an uncontrolled gybe.

Later in the same race on 1 April 2016, an untethered crew member was washed overboard from the yacht. The crew member was recovered after 1 hour and 20 minutes in the water, but never regained consciousness.

Safety lessons

  • effective supervision would have provided opportunities to prevent both accidents
  • danger zones need to be clearly marked on deck
  • given the uncertainty of successful man overboard search and recovery, particularly in atrocious weather, the need to clip on is paramount
  • skippers need to be effectively supported and, where appropriate, challenged to ensure safe working practices are maintained


Clipper Ventures plc has been recommended (2017/107) to review and modify its onboard manning policy and shore-based management procedures so that Clipper yacht skippers are effectively supported, and where appropriate, challenged to ensure safe working practices are maintained continuously on board.

A recommendation (2017/108) has also been made to Clipper Ventures plc to complete its review of the risks associated with MOB and recovery, and its development of appropriate control measures to reduce those risks to as low as reasonably practicable.

A recommendation (2017/109) has been made to the Royal Yachting Association, World Sailing and British Marine, which is intended to encourage recreational and professional yachtsmen to consider carefully the type of rope used for specific tasks on board their vessels.

A recommendation has also been made to Marlow Ropes Ltd (2017/110), the rope manufacturer, aimed at improving the information provided to users on the loss of strength caused by splices, hitches or knots when using high modulus polyethylene rope.

Published: 13 April 2017

Published 12 April 2017