A crew member of the ‘Derry~Londonderry~Doire’ yacht taking place in the Clipper Round the World boat race had to be rescued after he fell overboard today.
Forty-six year-old Andrew Taylor from London was in the water for over 90 minutes and it is believed to have been treated for shock and hypothermia.
The incident happened in rough weather. Skipper Sean McCarter reported that he was working with Andrew on a sail change near the bow when he went over the side. Sean immediately went back to the helm, stopped the yacht and initiated the MOB (man overboard) procedure.
Race Director Justin Taylor explained: “In these conditions a man overboard is swept away from the boat very quickly and visual contact can be lost in the swell. 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.”
Falmouth and US Coast Guard services were contacted and have now been stood down. Racing has resumed.
This is only the third ever incident in the Clipper Race’s eighteen year history that someone has had to be recovered from the water. In both previous incidents, the crew members were rescued within minutes.
All of the yachts taking part in this year’s Clipper race are expected to arrive in Derry on June 22 before commencing the eighth stage of the race from Derry to Den Helder in the Netherlands.