By Gemma Handy
With additional reporting by Edwin Gifford
“Universally loved” and one of the industry’s “brightest stars” is how a British sailor who died after a horrific accident in Antigua is being remembered.
Sam Richmond, from Hampshire in the UK, was practicing ahead of the Superyacht Challenge which finished yesterday in English Harbour when the incident occurred on Tuesday.
Part of the rigging on the vessel he was aboard apparently broke, smashing into him and causing head injuries, a spokesman for search and rescue group ABSAR told Observer.
Crew from another yacht responded to help, along with ABSAR’s rescue boat. Richmond was taken to hospital before being medically evacuated to Florida where he died on Thursday.
Richmond, a professional sailor for two decades, had been due to race aboard the 102ft luxury vessel Farfalla.
Yesterday morning, sailors participating in the final day of the Superyacht Challenge staged a start line memorial parade in his honour.
Crew members lined the dock in a mark of respect and a minute of silence was observed.
Fellow sailor Mike Broughton described Richmond as “universally loved and one of the brightest stars in superyacht racing”.
He was also said to be a devoted husband and father to two small daughters.
On Saturday, Richmond’s wife Colette spoke of her “devastating sadness” in a Facebook post.
“On Thursday 10 March, Sam passed away as a result of a terrible accident whilst sailing in Antigua.
“He was so well loved by me, his daughters Maisie and Martha, his family and the most amazing circle of friends anybody could aspire to have,” she wrote.
Colette Richmond has invited friends and loved ones to email treasured memories and stories detailing how her husband had touched lives.
“Over this past week, one of my few comforts has been reminiscing with friends and I would love to capture that in writing for the future.
“I know what a legend Sam was, but it’s important for me that Maisie and Martha can also in time read through these memories and understand that, as well as being the most amazing Daddy, he was one of the world’s all-round superstars.
“Wherever you are Sam, I hope you are near the sea with a glass of rosé in your hand,” she added.
Vanessa Hall, who had long enjoyed leisurely sails alongside Richmond as a crew member, told Observer she and her husband had “many great memories” of time spent with the man they nicknamed ‘Superyacht Sam’.
“His infectious smile and kind soul was taken too soon. He will be missed by us all. Fair winds, our friend,” she said.
Richmond had worked as UK sales manager for sail-making firm North Sails in south-east England for more than a decade.
He was a well-known name in the industry having also managed a variety of yacht racing campaigns. Richmond had been sailing since childhood, after learning the ropes in an Optimist dinghy at the age of six. His transition from sailing as a hobby to a career began with a stint as an instructor in Spain, followed by coaching national youth squads before going on to race big boats in 2004.