Faces of Covid-19

Popular American sailor loses Covid-19 battle in Cape Town

02 July 2020 - 05:58 By BOBBY JORDAN
Patrick Childress travelled the world on his yacht before succumbing to Covid-19 in Cape Town.
Patrick Childress travelled the world on his yacht before succumbing to Covid-19 in Cape Town.
Image: Supplied

Patrick Childress was a well-known American sailor and vlogger who died last Sunday in Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital from Covid-19 complications.

Childress and his wife Rebecca have been circumnavigating the world for several years and produced a popular YouTube channel and website.

They were enjoying a South African holiday when the country went into lockdown and ended up stranded on their yacht, named Brick House, at the Hout Bay marina.

They kept up their vlog while in lockdown and busied themselves with yacht maintenance.

Although initially upbeat about their lockdown – because they felt they were safer here than in the US – their relatively tranquil stay turned hellish after they both contracted the virus.

Throughout their illness, Rebecca kept up a blog to inform friends and followers around the world - even when Patrick was admitted to Groote Schuur’s intensive care unit.

A crowd-funding campaign was started to raise funds to cover medical costs. 

The couple, who had lived aboard their 40-foot (12.2m) yacht for the past 13 years, met during their sailing adventures and were married in 2007.

Patrick and Rebecca Childress.
Patrick and Rebecca Childress.
Image: Supplied

Patrick, who died aged 69, owned a home- improvement business in Newport, Rhode Island, before retiring to cruise around the world aboard Brick House. He had previously completed a solo circumnavigation in a smaller yacht and was a regular contributor to sailing magazines. He also worked as a yacht delivery captain and instructor.

Writing on their website after Patrick’s death, Rebecca said she would continue to voyage solo with a heavy heart: “Now I'm just sitting here - and I can’t believe this world does not have Patrick in it any more.

“I’m just so disappointed, lost and so lonely for my best friend. I just can’t believe he is gone now. It wasn’t supposed to happen. With so many people supporting him around the world, and the love of my life, how could things go so wrong?”