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."


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