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Author and Cruising Inspiration, Claiborne Young Dies in Motorcycle Crash


Taken together his cruising guides covered the ICW from Virginia to Alabama. Many sailors and power cruisers credit him for helping to ease their transition to the cruising lifestyle. He was a terrific speaker, and now Claiborne Young is dead.

He died from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident Saturday. He was 63.

His staff at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net website—an invention of Young’s begun when he began to doubt the future of print—were bereft. “Claiborne was Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, and like a giant tsunami, his death has left the staff adrift in a sea of unknowns. We will continue to function as best as possible until the future of SSECN can be determined,” writes Larry Dormini.

His wife Karen died in October of what Young called “never smoker’s lung cancer.”

Young recently described one of their final conversations. “She urged me to get another boat after she was gone. I didn't want to hear about life after Karen then, and immediately moved on to other topics,” Young wrote.

Having cared for his wife, then mourned her death, Young became determined to re-energize his relationship with his web audience and the cruising community at large.

In a recent email to PassageMaker Editor-in-Chief Peter Swanson, Young wrote: “By the way, as you may have heard, I recently purchased a beautifully preserved 1974 Defever 40 passagemaker trawler, and just brought her back from the Potomac River to Wilmington, North Caroline, for refit work. I'm aboard her right now, and to say the very least, I'm a happy fellow.”

He had named the boat Karen Ann III.

The purpose of the correspondence between Swanson and Young was to engage Young as a speaker at the upcoming TrawlerFest in Baltimore. “Claiborne was a terrific speaker,” Swanson said. “I know because I had to follow him on the stage once when we both gave talks at a Great Loop rendezvous. Not only was he the most knowledgeable voice on the waterway but he had a beautiful southern accent and peppered his talks with wonderful colloquialisms.”

“I can’t imagine retiring,” Young recently told a newspaper report. “It’s fascinating what we do, meeting so many interesting people and visiting so many interesting places.”

And, out of all us, you were one of the most interesting, Claiborne Young. You will be missed.

This was the message posted yesterday on the Salty Southeast Cruisers Net:

June 15th, 2014 "The Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net" community. It was a sad day, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Claiborne Young and a close lifetime friend were taking a leisurely ride on their motorcycles; it was a beautiful late spring North Carolina afternoon. An automobile drifted into the wrong lane and Claiborne was unable to avoid the vehicle. He died later Saturday evening from injuries sustained in the accident.  We ask for your understanding and patience during this moment of sadness and loss, while we make some organizational adjustments that will sustain the flow of accurate and moderated information you are accustomed to getting. Last week, Claiborne laid out his new plans for "The Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net" in preparation for the Fall cruising season and we are excited to do all possible to make this happen. As we move forward we will endeavor to be trustworthy stewards of what Claiborne and Karen Young were so passionate about and keep you informed each step of the way. Without your loyal support of our sponsors and without your use of the website, there would be no "Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net."  So please accept our sincere thanks and appreciation for your loyalty and for the many kind expressions we've received directly and through the many forums. Claiborne has joined his "first rate first mate" now and our team will be faithful stewards of their dream and what they built and left to us all. God's blessing to all. With sincere appreciation, The SSECN Team