Sailor Richard Blowman (45) dies in yachting accident during Finn Masters Race at Keyhaven Yacht Club
A SAILOR died in an accident while taking part in a yacht race off Keyhaven on Saturday afternoon.
Police are investigating after Richard Blowman (45), from Hull, was pulled from the water and pronounced dead at the scene.
The death is not being treated as suspicious.
The alarm was raised to Mr Blowman’s single-handed dinghy getting into difficulty during the BFA (British Finn Association) Finn Masters Race at Keyhaven Yacht Club.
A Hampshire police spokesperson said: “Crews from two rescue boats pulled the man from the water but he was later declared dead at the scene by a doctor.
“Police were called to the scene around 2.45pm.
“The death is not being treated as suspicious and an investigation into the circumstances which led to it is currently being carried out.”
Paramedic teams, including the Hampshire and Isle of Wight air ambulance, were also reported to have attended.
Keyhaven Yacht Club commodore Andy Ash-Vie said: "Keyhaven Yacht Club are incredibly saddened to report the death of a visitor, who was competing in the prestigious UK Masters Championships & BFA Finn Masters 2022 event.
"The directors and members offer their sincere condolences to his family and friends.
"Keyhaven Yacht Club are assisting and cooperating with all external authorities and will also be conducting its own internal investigation.
"Under the circumstances no further comments can be made at this time."
Facebook pages were flooded with tributes to Mr Blowman in the wake of the tragedy, including from the British Finn Association itself.
“The British Finn Association sends all our prayers and love to Richard's sister Jillian and all his family after this tragic accident whilst competing with his Finn friends in ideal conditions at the Master's championships in the Solent,” it said.
“Our thoughts are with you all.”
Mr Blowman’s sister, Jillian, took to Facebook to express pride in her brother’s life which she said was spent helping others and achieving “great things”.
She commented how the family had been looking forward to seeing him compete in sailing championships in Helsinki.
“The waters took you away,” she wrote. “The waters you have been on for all of your life. An accident at sea but doing what you loved.
“Those last moments you had on your boat with the biggest smile knowing you’re accomplishing everything you have always wanted to do!”
Mr Blowman was also a member of the Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF), a charity launched by the English professional rugby league footballer before his death from cancer in 2013.
The group raises funds for the Christie Cancer Hospital in Manchester and for Try Assist, previously known as the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.
Having taken part in its very first fundraiser, Walk Against Cancer in 2007, Mr Blowman undertook many others, including Carnegie Challenge in 2009 and Paramount Digital Ltd Challenge in 2019.
The foundation said: “Richard was ever the gentleman, always first to put his hand up and always one of the last to bed.
“He loved a challenge and when he was available and not working away he would be the first to sign up.”
It added: “The SPF family will always remember and raise a glass of Sambuca to your name.”