5 years ago, the day after the Monaco boat show, my parents received a call saying there had been a boat crash the previous evening and my gorgeous little bother William, who was Bosun on super yacht Burrasca was missing presumed dead. Many friends at the time wanted to help and raise money in his name but to be honest it has taken this long to think clearly about being able to do this. We now trying to do something positive in his name within the sailing industry he loved so much.We have set up the Will Black bursary with UK sailing Academy, Uksa to fund new sailers on a kind of scholarship scheme, for youngsters who might not be able to enter the industry otherwise. my parents and i will be on the board to decide each year which youngsters receive this money, and then, when these youngsters leave the academy and get their first job, they will pay back this money to the charity who will then reissue the bursary to someone else, in Will's name. A way for his name to live on and give back to the industry he loved.
On anther note there were so many factors around his accident we were horrified by, and now feel we have to address. As well as doing something positive in his name for the sailing industry we are actively, separately to this fundraising, also raising awareness about the lack of care for crew life, how that is unacceptable and how safety for crew on board super yachts is an important ongoing issue. we feel there in no one governing body who is accountable for all the different flag ship states around the world and this must change. we have started talking to journalists and also started meeting other families who sadly are in similar situations to us - together are voices are stronger.
Will's accident- The day after we were told about his disappearance (after us calling the captain) we found out the boat had already left Monaco, after dumping his belongings with local police. We were flying out to Monaco on the Tuesday, which meant we never even saw the boat he was working on, or met with the Captain or crew he worked with, in fact we never heard from them again. The boat was taken out of European waters by the owners so they couldn't be held accountable for anything to do with the accident, and subsequently put up for sale a month later. We later found out none of the crew was insured by the boat, as if none of the crews lives mattered and that the death of William was an inconvenience. We know we can't hope to battle with billionaire Russians who could drag a court case out over years. But, after hearing about similar horrific accidents that could possibly have been avoided by stricter marine laws and talking to their families, we want to join with them and raise awareness about the fact that the lack of care for human life is not acceptable and needs to change.
Williams accident, after hearing the inquest results, seems to us to have been a case of him driving the tender (small boat) on his own back out to the large yacht, which was just outside of the harbour. We suspect a swell from another tender in front of him that was going fast (this was seen on cctv) probably knocked him off the boat and he fell into the water, either knocking himself unconscious or breaking his neck as he entered the water. Either way it would have been instantaneous. The boat then kept going and crashed into a moored boat. However the fact there was no life jacket being worn and the kill chord switch had been disabled (under order of the boat possibly to save time- the kill chord stops the boat if the driver takes his hand off the wheel) meant the divers searching for William at the point of the crash site never found his body. If a life jacket had been worn then 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 Williams huge personality and love of life know how devastated this left us all - here's to doing something wonderful in his name.