“Cheeki Rafiki” Tragedy, Time For Changes

Overturned hull of the Cheeki Rafiki

I think most everyone in the offshore sailing community is aware of the tragic loss of the Beneteau First 40.7 Cheeki Rafiki.

What We Know

Much internet ink has been expended speculating about what may, or may not, have happened to the boat and her crew. But two things we know for sure at this point are:

  • The keel is missing from the wreck.
  • The liferaft is in its original stowage position.

That would seem to indicate that disaster struck very quickly and in a way that prevented this experienced crew from taking steps to save themselves.

Beyond that, we can all speculate for months, as I'm sure will happen in the media and on the forums, but none of that will do much, or maybe anything, to prevent a recurrence. This post is my attempt to look at what we can do.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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