Sport: Death in the South Irish Sea

Freak storm takes 18 lives in British yachting disaster

The warnings began crackling over the BBC just after midday, and by nightfall they were growing urgent: "Severe gale, Force 9, increasing strong Force 10, imminent." Most of the 306 yachts in Britain's 605-mile Fastnet race were already in the South Irish Sea, near the bleak rock for which the biennial blue-water classic is named. Running for shelter seemed unnecessary, perhaps impossible. Said Tom McLoughlin, a Californian aboard the French yacht Accanito: "We deluded ourselves into thinking that the weather was going to improve."


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!