Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Dramatic MOB Pacific cold-water rescue - the personal account

by Telegraph/Sail-World Cruising on 5 Apr 2014
Mid-Pacific rescue SW
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:
Beneteau SAIL Oceanis 51 and 57 660x82 1Musto AUS 2017 660x82 1Harken AUS HL Snatch Block 660x82

Related Articles

AMSA marine notice – Importance of using official nautical charts
This notice draws attention to the importance of using official nautical charts to comply with flag State requirements. Official charts are those issued by or on the authority of a government, authorised hydrographic office or other relevant government institution.
Posted on 24 May
Line 7 Marine presents Squadron II jacket in time for SCIBS
The Squadron II Jacket is now on shelves and has been designed to keep the wearer on the water for longer. The Squadron II Jacket is now on shelves and has been designed specifically to keep the wearer on the water for longer. It’s crafted from 100% waterproof fabric, with a high level of breathability for extra comfort and pulls together a host of extra features.
Posted on 23 May
Old4New Van notches up 100,000km and 20,000 lifejackets
Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today announced the Old4New life jacket programme Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today announced the Old4New life jacket programme had exchanged more than 20,000 old lifejackets for new ones, spreading the ‘wear a lifejacket’ message.
Posted on 23 May
Nineteenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - Panama Canal Transit
Still at Shelter Bay Marina Colon. Atlantic end of the Panama Canal. But not for long. Still at Shelter Bay Marina Colon. Atlantic end of the Panama Canal. But not for long. Shelter Bay is the natural meeting place of lots cruising yachts. Their tall masts and rows and rows of furling headsails. Most American and European. Friendly bunch.
Posted on 17 May
Zip up, step out – Top technical jackets
Zip up, step out – Top technical jackets Zip up, step out – Top technical jackets
Posted on 11 May
Eighteenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - Colon, Panama
Perie Banou is tied to the relatively new Shelter Bay Marina. Colon. Good Marina. With services, some modest. Colon remains, as with previous years, a dangerous city. But it is much cleaner and getting better. Perie Banou II is tied to the relatively new Shelter Bay Marina. Colon. Good Marina. With services, some modest. Balboa is the port for Panama City on the Pacific Ocean. The other end of the Canal. If one looked at a map or chart of all of the Americas and one wanted to cross from the Atlantic to th
Posted on 10 May
Seventeenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - Panama
I am back on the high seas. Left Nanny Cay Marina using engine, motored to Norman Bight, Norman Island, BVI. I am back on the high seas. Left Nanny Cay Marina using engine, motored to Norman Bight, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands. In quiet weather, sailing, motor sailing, or motor boating I can clip the tiller on (quick easy). Then clip the Simrad electronic tiller pilot. Then I steer electronically.
Posted on 4 May
Servicing winches for a longer, more efficient life
A question we get asked often is all about winch servicing and how often should this be done and how hard is it. A question we get asked often is all about winch servicing and how often should this be done and how hard is it. We thought we might try and answer the most common questions and put people’s minds at ease as to how it's done. How often should you service your winches?
Posted on 3 May
ANMM welcomes first European artefact to appear on Australian soil
ANMM is excited to welcome the first European artefact to appear on Australian soil, the Dirk Hartog Plate Just over four hundred years ago Dutch mariner Dirk Hartog (1580–1621) sailed into history when, on 25 October 1616, he made the first documented European landing on the west coast of Australia. And this week the Australian National Maritime Museum is excited to welcome the first European artefact to appear on Australian soil, the Dirk Hartog Plate, to Sydney on special loan
Posted on 3 May
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience (Pt.III)
We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance. We’ve looked at what it was like to come into a disaster zone, seen the evidence of those that did the right thing, and how the area is already on the road to recovery. Now we’ll see why patience is the key in the aftermath of her fury.
Posted on 30 Apr