Derry skipper recalls Pacific rescue

Published Wednesday, 02 April 2014
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The skipper of the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht has spoken about his fears for the man who fell overboard during the Clipper Round the World Race, sparking a major rescue in the Pacific Ocean.

Derry skipper recalls Pacific rescue
The moment a Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew member was dramatically rescued. (© Clipper Ventures)

Sean McCarter, 31 and from Derry, describes the moment the crew realised Andrew Taylor went overboard in strong winds and limited visibility.

"A needle in the haystack doesn't even describe what we were looking for," the yacht's skipper describes the challenging task, facing crews.

The crew were battering against time with water temperatures at their lowest 10 degrees and strong winds, Mr McCarter says: "as soon as we saw him the initial reaction was a huge relief."

We don't have a clue what state he's in, God forbid dead or alive, conscious or unconscious, injured.

Sean McCarter, skipper

The incident happened when Andrew and Sean were changing a sail on their yacht, during the 40,000-mile marathon from Qingdao in China to San Francisco, USA.

According to Sean, the training the crew had been on before was fundamental in the rescue.

Andrew was left suffering shock and hypothermia, but was lucky to survive - thanks to his seven months at sea, the rescue efforts of the team, and the fact he was wearing a life jacket and a dry suit.

I didn't know if you were looking for me or not.

Andrew Taylor, crewman

Race Director Justin Taylor said: "An hour-and-a-half is a very long time to be in the water in these conditions."

The Clipper race has been happening for 18 years and has attracted almost 4,000 people, but Andrew is only the fourth person to have to be rescued.

Speaking about the fall, the race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnson said: "The MOB procedures were put into practice flawlessly by the crew in difficult conditions."

The race, which started from London on 1 September 2013, is due to finish under the Golden Bridge, San Francisco on 11 April.

© UTV News
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