Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Dramatic MOB Pacific cold-water rescue - the personal account

by Telegraph/Sail-World Cruising on 5 Apr 2014
Mid-Pacific rescue .. .
Whether you are cruising or racing, a Man Overboard is a Man Overboard, and this graphic account of the difficulty of a sailing boat crewed with beefy professional and experienced sailors getting their crew member back on board should have every cruising sailor taking the integrity and use of their life jacket and tethering gear very seriously.

Sean McCarter , 32, of the Derry-Londonderry-Doire boat in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, said his team mate would have been unconscious and possibly dead if he had not been wearing a dry suit when he fell overboard 2,500 miles from land.

Londoner Andrew Taylor, 46, was in the ocean for an hour and a half before being rescued.

Mr McCarter, Irish yachtsman and former RNLI volunteer for Loughswilly, Co Donegal, told the Telegraph: 'The moment he went out of sight the Pacific all of a sudden becomes a very big place.

'We had our man overboard position marked on the chart which gives us a point to start searching from and we start going through the motions, trying to estimate where he might have drifted to with the wind and current. We started searching but I mean a needle in a haystack doesn't even describe what we were looking for.'

Mr Taylor has recovered well from his terrifying ordeal in the early hours of Monday (UK time) despite suffering severe shock, hypothermia and being hit by the rudder of the 70ft racing yacht as it swung past him.

He was with the skipper trying to change a head sail when the boat rolled violently and he was thrown into the water despite being clipped on.

He said: 'It happened so quickly. One second my feet were on the boat the next my head was in the water. There was nothing in between, it was just, bang, gone. There was no feeling of losing my balance or trying to get hold of something or looking for something to hang on to.'

Mr Taylor said conditions deteriorated further while he was in the ocean being tossed about in a swell and when a storm hit with rain, wind and hailstones.

He said: 'I got hit from behind by a really big wave. I heard it coming, white water. It hit me from behind, winded me, rolled me over, tipped me upside down, and rolled me over and over and over, like getting wiped out in a surf or washed up on a beach.'

The yacht was about halfway on the 5,600-mile leg across the Pacific from Qingdao, China, to San Francisco when the accident happened in rough conditions.

Mr McCarter, who is from Co Donegal but now based in Mallorca and a sailor from a young age, said searching for a longstanding crew member made the rescue operation all the more tense.

'Being a crew member on an RNLI lifeboat we respond to lots of those but there's a certain detachment when its not somebody you know, a friend or a crew mate. You are just out looking for a diver in the water or somebody who has been swept off a rock,' he said.

'It's not quite the same as somebody you were just talking with a few moments before, someone you have been sailing with for whatever it is, seven months at this stage, and ultimately somebody I am responsible for.'

The crew have been praised for putting all their training to good use and following man overboard procedures to the letter.

But with the conditions in the middle of the ocean, there were fears for Mr Taylor's life after he was not seen for such a long period of time.

The skipper said: 'The water temp is 10-11 degrees so you really don't want to have someone in there for really any longer than 10-15 mins. We had huge seas, we'd very strong winds, we'd limited visibility because the sea state was so bad and that made it a lot more challenging..

'As soon as we saw him the initial reaction was a huge relief and then followed quite quickly by we don't have a clue what state he is in, God forbid dead or alive, conscious, unconscious, injured.

'We got round and as soon as he could sea the boat out of the corner of his eye we could see him waving his arms and that was another massive relief.

'We got near to him and before we knew it he was instructing us how to get him back on board.'

The Pacific leg of the Clipper, between China and the US, is the tenth of 16 stages in the world's longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles.

See below for the CNN version of the video:
Jeanneau Sunfast 660x82Abell Point Marina Splash 660x82Dubarry 2016 660x82 1

Related Articles

Immortal
Take your mind back to a Russell Mulcahy film from 1986 called, Highlander. Take your mind back to a Russell Mulcahy film from 1986 called, Highlander. The former music video producer’s first feature film was a cult star before going on to become a wee bit immortal, as per its main characters. The principal thrust of it all was a gathering of immortal souls, and in the end, there could be only one.
Posted on 28 Feb
A rare opportunity to sail in Canada!
Sail the fabulous Vancouver Island, Georgia Straights and The Desolation Sound. Sail the fabulous Vancouver Island, Georgia Straights and The Desolation Sound. This area regarded as the greatest wilderness and picturesque area in the world is open to a 16 day cruise with Sailing Adventures.
Posted on 27 Feb
Eleventh Blog from on board Perie Banou II
'Perie Banou II' with me, are tracking well. Going north west to the British Island of Saint Helena Jon Sanders is well into his historic, record setting tenth circumnavigation and continues to see the wry in almost all the things he gets up to. St Helena is the next stop and the conditions are always a changing. Reason on for more of Jon's unique perspective of the world.
Posted on 25 Feb
2017 Jeanneau Rendezvous at the inaugural Sail Peninsula Regatta
Some photos taken by LaFoto at the 2017 Jeanneau Rendezvous which was part of the inaugural Sail Peninsula Regatta. The 2017 Jeanneau Rendezvous was part of the inaugural Sail Peninsula Regatta from Martha Cove on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. It was a great regatta with a stern chaser race held on the Friday night, followed by a long distance race to Blairgowrie on Saturday in a glamorous five to ten knots, then finally an awesome medium distance race off Safety Beach in 25-35 knots...
Posted on 21 Feb
Super Series Sailing Spectacular
News arrived of at least one Australian outfit going for a new build 52. Someone had to entertain Beau Geste and SMB During the week, news arrived of at least one Australian outfit going for a new build 52. Someone had to keep Beau Geste and SMB entertained at the sharp end of the 52 bracket. Two other camps were linked to other former 52 Super Series craft, Phoenix and Spookie, but the one touted as going after Phoenix has denied it, saying that Hasso (SAP) Plattner of Germany has bought her.
Posted on 20 Feb
More marina space and exciting firsts for GC Boat Show and Marine Expo
More marina space and exciting additions to an impressive Fleet of Firsts have set scene for a colossal marine showcase More marina space and even more exciting additions to an already impressive Fleet of Firsts have set the scene for a colossal marine showcase both on water and on land on Queensland’s Gold Coast from 17-19 March.
Posted on 17 Feb
Tenth blog from on board Perie Banou II
The irrepressible, charismatic and yarn-spinning record-breaker known as Jon Sanders is back sailing the oceans The sailor who cannot garden; the irrepressible, charismatic and yarn-spinning record-breaker known as Jon Sanders is back sailing the oceans he knows so well. After his ribs episode on the quay in Cape Town, and making more friends everywhere he goes, Jon is now making for St Helena. So here, in his typical rapid-fire style are his latest exploits...
Posted on 17 Feb
B&G adds enhanced Navionic functionality to Zeus and Vulcan range
B&G® announces the latest updates will bring PredictWind weather services direct to Zeus and Vulcan chartplotter range. B&G®, the world’s leading sailing navigation and instrument specialist, is pleased to announce the latest in its software updates will bring PredictWind weather services direct to its Zeus and Vulcan chartplotter range.
Posted on 16 Feb
Beneteau Open Day at Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
The Beneteau Team will be exhibiting three new Beneteau models at the CYCA this Saturday. The Beneteau Team will be exhibiting three new Beneteau models at the CYCA this Saturday.
Posted on 16 Feb
Lisa Blair enjoys a sunrise crossing of International Date Line
At sea for 20 days, Lisa Blair, 32 reached a key milestone in her attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica solo At sea for 20 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes and 39 seconds, sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair, 32 reached a key milestone in her attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica solo and unassisted crossing the International Dateline at 16:25:39 UTC (05:25:39 local time) on 11 February 2017.
Posted on 11 Feb