Falls from mast of 60-meter schooner, dies at 18

treeFalls from tree and dies. Bethany Smith, an 18-year-old Welshwoman who had been sailing around the world with her family for 10 years, died in a tragic accident aboard the schooner Germania Nova, on which she was sailing as a deckhand. The boat was moored at theErrol Flynn Port Antonio Marina, Jamaica. Bethany was cleaning the tree at altitude last Tuesday when, locals report, the top holding it up suddenly gave way causing her to plummet to the deck of the maxi yacht. Help was useless; she died shortly after in the hospital from multiple injuries.


Bethany Smith

Upset parents: mother was in Trinidad, father in Holland. Online crowdfunding has started to help the family pay for the trip to Jamaica and funeral expenses). A true “globetrotting” family, they had cast off their moorings from the Welsh town of Glyndyfrdwy in 2007. For three years they had cruised the Mediterranean aboard their Cape boat. Then the Canary Islands and West Africa, before crossing the Atlantic in 2012 and devoting himself to exploring the Caribbean. Bethany had finally found work on the Germania Nova.

treeThe Germania Nova is a schooner built in 2011 at Factoria Naval Marin, Spain. 59.80 meters long, it is 8.16 meters wide and fishes 5.51. It has a displacement of 179 tons and is made of steel, while the deck and rigging are made of wood. The sail area is between 1,300 and 2,383 square meters, depending on the rig.

This incident gives pause to reflect on the danger of so-called “work at height” (for which, remember, a license has been required since 2008 if you are in port). A similar incident had happened in our own seas, in Genoa, when in 2009 the famous rigger Giuliano Gallo, 48, had died falling from the mast of a sailboat because the knot tying his harness had come undone.

Should you ascend the tree, always remember to tie two lines to the harness, and never with a carabiner but with a knot (gas on the ring or do a double gas, one on the harness ring and one on the belt). Never climb without shoes, and before starting operations carefully check the wear condition of the harness seams.



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