On behalf of the friends of the Cheeki Rafiki crew, thank you so much for signing this petition and for all the support you have shown. Sadly, the outcome wasn't a happy one, but your support has meant a great deal to us, and having started this petition for my friends, I am so grateful.
The families have asked me to pass on their comments:
"We would like to say how indebted we are to the public for its overwhelming and unprecedented support. In the end this petition gained 240,000 signatures. That is equivalent to the population of a city the size of Southampton. This has helped quell our distress somewhat, but in particular Paul, Steve, James and Andrew would have been enormously touched to have known that they were in the minds of so many people.
It would have brought them great comfort in their moment of need and could, just could, have made a vital difference in saving their lives had the circumstances only been different."
Our thoughts are of course with all of the crew, their friends and families. In particular, members of last year's Cheeki Rafiki Fastnet crew, including myself, who were due to take part in this year's Round Britain and Ireland race with Andy. We were looking forward to sailing with him again. In tribute to Andy, we will now be racing to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Thank you once again for your support.
Cheeki Rafiki, a sailing yacht from Southampton, was returning home to the UK with a crew of four, following a successful race in the Caribean. On Thursday Skipper Andrew Bridge reported that the boat was taking on water. The experienced crew believed that the situation was stable but amended their course to head for the group of islands, Azores. On Friday morning the yacht training and charter firm Stormforce Coaching lost all contact with them.
The US Coast Guard has done a fantastic job searching for the crew, but we are asking that they just give them a bit more time. It is reported that two consecutive signals were picked up from personal beacons indicating that they had made it to the life raft. They deserve a chance to be found, please help by signing this petition to ask the US Coastguard to please search again.
I sailed with Andy on Cheeki Rafiki last summer during the Fastnet 2013 race. Andy is an amazing guy and showed such genuine care for me and all his crew mates, that we all consider him a close friend and desperately want him to be found.
We have just heard that the US Coast Guard will be resuming the search for the Cheeki Rafiki crew. This is amazing. I’m overwhelmed.
When we started this campaign, we didn’t know who would listen, just that our boys were lost at sea and we refused to let go of hope. The support we have had has been incredible and we are so grateful for the US Coast Guard for listening to over 200,000 of us who signed the petition on Change.org. The skill and expertise they have is invaluable, we will keep our hope alive until there is more news.
Please tweet by clicking the link below to say thank you to the US Coast Guard for responding to our campaign:
Thank you to the US Coast Guard for responding to our call and resuming search of #cheekirafiki Let's keep up hope.
Thank you again, so much, for helping my amazing friend Andy and his crewmates by giving them a fighting chance. The impact you have made by signing this petition is unbelievable.