Six years ago during the Monaco Yacht Show, Bosun Will Black of the 183-foot (56m) Perini Navi S/Y Burrasca was involved in a tender accident and went missing. His family has recently started a campaign to raise money for a scholarship in his name at the UKSA in England.
“Many friends at the time wanted to help and raise money in his name but to be honest it has taken this long to think clearly about being able to do this,” his family explained on the fundraising page. “We now are doing something positive in his name within the maritime industry in which William found a home for his spirit of adventure,” the-triton.com reports.
Will Black, from the UKSA sailing academy bursary websiteMr Black trained at UKSA, a sailing academy and youth-centred charity. His scholarship will help “new sailors who otherwise might not be able to enter the industry,” his family’s page said. “This is a way for Will’s name to live on and give back to the industry he so loved.”
The page accepts direct donations, but also other fundraising efforts, such as cycling or running races. The campaign began in July to mark Mr Black’s 34th birthday.
The family also raises concerns about crew safety. Mr Black was not wearing a life jacket on that late-night tender run, and the kill cord switch had been disabled, his family said. They vow to work to affect change. Read more about their concerns at Mr Black’s fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/crewwillbsafe.
From Riviera Reporter issue 142: December 2010/January 2011
A life was lost in a boating accident off Monaco on Saturday September 25th. The splendid Monaco Yacht Show had closed early that evening and everyone was relaxing, except those mega-yachts who had to leave harbour to enable the extra pontoons to be dismantled so that the tightly packed yachts could leave as planned. Offshore, there were 60 extra yachts for whom there was no room at the in-port show, which were nevertheless available for potential buyers to visit by fast tender. (The new Cunard liner Queen Mary II was among them, her name being shown on everyone’s radar screen thanks to Automatic Identification System). The sea was calm, all was well. One fast tender was returning at high speed in the darkness to the mother ship when it suddenly collided with the large sailing yacht Fado at anchor in its path; the young driver (a bosun on the 56-metre Perini-Navi ketch Burrasca), was catapulted over the bow and hit the hull violently, then sank rapidly. The alarm was raised by yachts nearby and they all sent tenders (over 20 of them), in vain, to search for anyone in the water. The Menton lifeboat and the Monaco Marine Police launch joined the search, together with two helicopters and later with Monaco Police divers. But as we go to press, his body has not been found and police enquiries are therefore not complete.
The only blessing was that the tender had no passengers onboard – the driver was alone and, in the good conditions not expecting any difficulty, was not wearing a lifejacket. But his lookout was not sufficient; he presumably failed to see Fado’s regulation white all-round masthead light, 30 metres above him. It cost him his life.
No insurance could have saved the driver in this sad case; but had he been found floating but injured he could have had the best medical care. In an identical accident in English Harbour, Antigua, in 1990, the two injured crew were immediately flown to England for surgery, thanks to crew insurance. But many owners register under flags of convenience to avoid the expense of employee insurance and it is then up to crew candidates whether to accept employment in such a vessel.
A similar accident several years ago in Villefranche Bay badly injured the four young occupants of a speedboat, which left harbour late in the evening for a nocturne, and ploughed into one of the two large mooring buoys, also catapulting them over the bow. But they finished on the buoy rather than drowning in the water. There were later complaints that the buoy was not lit – but it is not possible to mark every obstruction with a light. Seamen must navigate with prudence, consulting their charts and other information and using their Mark One Eyeball. As a Midshipman in the Royal Navy, I was taught (actually in Villefranche Bay) to drive small boats at night by aiming at some low light ahead which would be reflected in the water. This might mean zigzagging a bit, but would reveal any obstacles in the water ahead.
Maximum vigilance is always needed at sea, and the unexpected can always happen. If you are not sure about what lies ahead, you must slow down or even stop. As the Road Safety people warn: “Speed kills”. Such a waste of a fine young life, “a gregarious character who brought life to every situation”. R.I.P William Black – lost at sea off Monaco, aged only 28.