Please select your home edition
Edition
Fremantle to Bali Race 728x90

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:
Abell Point Marina 660x82 MoorSouthern Spars - 100Pantaenius - Fixed Value

Related Articles

Auckland On the Water Boat Show opens full of the Joys of Spring
The Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening. Despite the inclement weather that has been the New Zealand's daily fare for too long, the Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening. Today was the first of the four-day show and is also the first time that the Show has been held in the school holidays.
Posted on 29 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.II)
We looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear In Part One of getting to know Harken, we looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear. We also looked at some of the other brands Harken distributes in Australia and so we move on to the last category.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Amel - Do you fit the bill?
Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 It is certainly an interesting set of criterion. Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 and make them a definitive part of the quintessential bluewater cruiser armada. We’ll come to all of those in due course, but firstly we’ll tackle the hero image and why in so many ways, this explains, so, so much.
Posted on 21 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.I)
You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. So if you were going to be the person at the top in Australia, it would be best for you to have immersed yourself in sailing from an early age. When you grew up, being one of the technical service team would be more than a handy apprenticeship, as it were.
Posted on 19 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Boat Books of the Month - How to Read Water and False Flags
How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to Sea & False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II. This month the Boatbooks Australia: Boat Books of the Month are How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea and False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II.
Posted on 6 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The X Factor starring X-Yachts
X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. Testament to that is the three-year-old Xp38 on display at the recent Sydney International Boat Show still looked brand new. This was no mooring minder either, but rather a boat that had gone up to Hamilton Island Race Week for each of those years and campaigned hard.
Posted on 31 Aug
The C Beetle Project
Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Such is Phil Smidmore’s tale of Mick Miller and if I could be so bold as to implore you to read, then I know your life will be the better for it!
Posted on 30 Aug