Derry Clipper Captain awarded for heroic actions

Local man Sean McCarter has received a major international accolade for Outstanding Seamanship following his heroic actions during the Clipper Round the World yacht race.

The Cruising Club of America (CCA) awarded its 2014 Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship to the former Foyle College pupil in recognition of the way he directed his crew during a dramatic man overboard rescue in the harsh northern Pacific Ocean last March.

Clipper Captain Sean McCarter pictured with the Derry's Mayor Brenda Stevenson ahead of the Round the World yacht race earlier this year.

Clipper Captain Sean McCarter pictured with the Derry's Mayor Brenda Stevenson ahead of the Round the World yacht race earlier this year.

The Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship is an internationally renowned trophy awarded annually for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht, or one or more individuals at sea.

Sean McCarter was taught how to sail on Lough Swilly, at just five years old. A former Royal National Lifeboat Institution volunteer, Sean says: “The CCA is a club that has over 85 years of promoting the adventurous use of the sea and puts a premium on safety and seamanship.

“I am honoured to have been selected to receive The Rod Stephens trophy for Outstanding Seamanship but must accept it on behalf of the entire crew of Derry-Londonderry-Doire on the Pacific leg. Finding and rescuing Andrew Taylor in the midst of a North Pacific gale was not down to one person but to the skill and determination of a well-trained team.”

Crew member Andrew Taylor, 46, from London, went overboard in the middle of a Pacific Ocean storm, approximately half way through the 5,600 mile race from Qingdao, China to San Francisco, USA at the end of March this year whilst competing in the Clipper 2013-14 Race. He was recovered after 90 minutes in the water. The search was particularly difficult due to low visibility, high winds and mountainous seas which caused Andrew to drift quickly out of sight from the yacht.

Andrew made a full recovery after initial shock, hypothermia and a badly bruised leg. He continued the remaining six races to complete the circumnavigation when the Clipper Race returned to London in July 2014.