Moving tribute from families of the lost sailors aboard the foundered yacht Cheeki Rafiki have issued a statement thanking all those who signed a petition to get the US Coastguard to re-start the search.
“We would like to say how indebted we are to the public for its overwhelming and unprecedented support. In the end this petition gained 240,000 signatures. That is equivalent to the population of a city the size of Southampton.
This has helped quell our distress somewhat, but in particular Paul, Steve, James and Andrew would have been enormously touched to have known that they were in the minds of so many people. It would have brought them great comfort in their moment of need and could, just could, have made a vital difference in saving their lives had the circumstances only been different.”
The yacht a Beneteau First 40.7 was lost in the North Atlantic while the crew were on their way home form Antigua Sailing Week.
A statement from the petition organiser, Nicola Evans, read: ‘On behalf of the friends of the Cheeki Rafiki crew, thank you so much for signing this petition and for all the support you have shown. Sadly, the outcome wasn’t a happy one, but your support has meant a great deal to us, and having started this petition for friends, we are so grateful.
‘Our thoughts are of course with all of the crew, their friends and families. In particular, members of last year’s Cheeki Rafiki Fastnet crew, including myself, who were due to take part in this year’s Round Britain and Ireland race with Andy. We were looking forward to sailing with him again.
‘In tribute to Andy, we will now be racing to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The RNLI are an amazing UK based charity who save hundreds of lives at sea every year, and are dependent on donations from people like you. If everyone who signed this petition gave us a pound we could fund a new life boat! Anything you can give would help show your respects.’
For the full story on the tragedy see Yachting Monthly Summer issue.