A sailor from Orpington was found "lying motionless" in the danger zone of his round-the world boat after an unexpected change of course.

Following the death of Andrew Ashman, 49, from Orpington, crew members onboard the boat used in a round the world sailing race were instructed to check ropes for signs of wear.

Mr Ashman died 120 miles off the Portuguese coast in September 2015, four days into the Clipper Round the World sailing challenge.

Mr Ashman, who was supervising a helmsman on deck at the time, may have been knocked into the area by the mainsheet when the preventer line broke, a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said.

A post-mortem examination revealed he suffered a severe neck injury and had sustained bruises to his scalp, arms and legs.

At an inquest at Southwark Coroners Court, senior coroner Andrew Harris said: "It must have been an accidental gybe that started the process, caused (pressure) to build up, the preventer line to break and the boom to move across."

Captain Darren Ladd, skipper of the boat, said: "In 10 years as an instructor, I've never seen a preventer line break and I would not have expected it to break."

Some of the ropes supplied for the rig were spliced, or modified into loops, to create a strop, jurors at Southwark Coroners Court heard.

The changes meant that the rope, while still within safety limits, had a minimum break load which was half that of the original rope.

Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, the firm which supplied the ropes, told jurors it would be "unusual" for a rope manufacturer to be involved in the design of the vessel.

"The normal process for ropes in the yachting industry is that the manufacturer will produce the rope on a reel and then the rigger down the line will splice it," he said.

He added the firm was taking steps to improve knowledge around how the ropes work when modified, including producing an infographic for social media.

Jeremy Knight, COO at Clipper Ventures, denied that allowing the rope to be spliced put crew members' lives in danger because modifications were made "within the factor of safety".

He said the ropes used to make the strops were replaced, and a backup preventer line was added to the Clipper fleet following Mr Ashman's death.

The inquest continues.