A member of the amateur crew sailing the Derry-Londonderry-Doire in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fell overboard and was lost at sea for an hour and a half before the rest of the crew was able to perform their dramatic rescue.
The Clipper Round the World is the world’s longest ocean race, totaling 40,000 miles. The Derry-Londonderry-Doire was competing in the race’s 10th stage (out 16), across the Pacific Ocean from Qingdao, China to San Francisco.
A member of the crew, Andrew Taylor, a 46-year-old Londoner, was changing the sail on Monday when he fell into the water and was quickly swept away.
The other members of the crew frantically scanned the waves for Taylor, who was wearing a bright yellow life jacket and an orange dry suit.
Close to one hour went by before they were able to locate him, and another half an hour before they were able to pull him to safety.
Back on board the Derry-Londonderry-Doire, he was treated for hypothermia and shock.
Race director Justin Taylor told The Telegraph, “We have a well-rehearsed procedure to mark the position, stop racing and engaged the engine to search for and recover the crew member as quickly as possible.
“An hour and a half is a very long time to be in the water in these conditions, but a combination of his sea survival training and seven months at sea as well as wearing a life jacket and dry suit will have contributed enormously to his survival.”
This marked the fourth time in the race’s 18-year history that a participant has fallen overboard. In the three previous cases, the crew members were rescued within minutes.
Taylor talks about his experience in the following video, telling his fellow crew members, “I didn’t know if you were looking for me or not. I didn’t know if you’d seen me.” (Note: it includes a few - highly forgivable! - expletives.)