Bursary in memory of missing sailor Will Black
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Bursary in memory of missing sailor Will Black

Yachting Boating World: Will Black died in a boating accident six years ago. The 28-year-old’s body has never been found. Now his family have set up a bursary in his memory.


William Black, who was known as Will, was a bosun on the Russian superyacht, Burresca, when he died in a boating accident.

The 28-year-old, who was from Ripley in Surrey, was piloting a RIB on the last day of the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2010. It collided with an unmanned, anchored sailing yacht just before 10.30pm. Will was thrown from the vessel.

He was not wearing a life jacket and his body has never been recovered.

Now, his family is setting up a bursary with the sailing charity, UKSA, in Will’s memory. Fundraising is being done via Just Giving. Will trained with UKSA, which is based on the Isle of Wight.

The charity aims to offer life-changing opportunities to young people through sailing. Will’s family is also raising awareness of boat crew safety.

“We now are doing something positive in his name within the maritime industry in which William found a home for his spirit of adventure,” wrote Will’s family on the official Just Giving page.

“We are setting up a bursary with the UKSA ( the sailing academy where William trained) to fund new sailors who otherwise might not be able to enter the industry. This is a way for Will’s name to live on and give back to the industry he so loved.”

So far, more than £6,000 has been raised.

Will’s family said following the inquest into his death, they suspect “that the tender (RIB) that he was driving on his way back to SY Burrasca, must have been hit by the swell from another tender ahead, that was being driven at speed (this can be seen on the CCTV).”

“This must have knocked him off the boat and he fell into the water, either knocking himself unconscious or breaking his neck. Either way it would have been instantaneous.”

“The boat then kept going and crashed into a moored boat,” explained Will’s family, who add that Will was not wearing a life jacket.

They also state that the kill chord switch had been disabled.

“If a life jacket had been worn, then in the worst case we would have been able to find his body and have to chance to bring him home and bury him and, best case scenario, if he had only been knocked unconscious we’d still have him with us.”

“Either way safety of crew is such an important issue and one which we can’t let go.”

“Those of you who knew Will’s huge personality and love of life know how devastated this left us all – here’s to doing something wonderful in his name,” added Will’s family.

Will’s parents never got to meet his colleagues on SY Burrasca.

After being advised of Will’s accident by the yacht’s captain, the family flew out to Monaco.

On arrival, his parents found that the superyacht had already left port.

Will’s belongings had been given to the local police. The family subsequently discovered that none of the crew were insured.

They are now calling for stricter marine laws, and are wanting to raise awareness about the working conditions of superyacht crew.

See article at Yachting Boating World

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