The 46-year-old Londoner was rescued from the Pacific Ocean after a 90-minute ordeal
A British man rescued from the Pacific Ocean after falling overboard during the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race has spoken of his fight to survive.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew member, Andrew Taylor, aged 46, from London went over the side on Monday in rough weather around 2,600 miles from land.
He was recovered 90 minutes later after his crew managed to locate him and to get him back on board, suffering from shock and hypothermia.
Speaking from the yacht, now 2,000 miles from San Francisco, Andrew described how he was working on the foredeck, changing a headsail with a crewmate, when he momentarily unclipped to fetch a tool. The boat lurched violently and he was taken overboard.
He said: ‘One second I had my feet on the boat the next second my head was in the water, bang, there was no feeling of losing my balance, just bosh, I was in the water. It was so fast.
‘I saw a flash of purple as the boat went past and then I got hit hard by the rudder on my legs, it spun me right around, I was completely disorientated and jeez it hurt.’
Andrew described how he worried that his crewmates had not noticed he had gone overboard, due to the speed of the fall, but then he saw the yacht making searching manouveres and someone up the mast.
He said: ‘I remember thinking ‘good they’re looking for me’ and then realising it was bad because they didn’t know where I was.
‘The crew on the boat were amazing. I saw an amazing sky, jet black, over the top of the boat.’
The storm swept across and Andrew was pelted with rain and then hailstones.
He said: ‘The waves were enormous and it was so so very cold at that point.’
The sun came out and Andrew became concerned as he stopped feeling cold and realised he was in danger of hypothermia. Andrew realised it was his mum’s birthday and became determined nothing should happen to him.
After 45 minutes of being at sea, Andrew realised his AIS beacon – which links solely with his yacht – had not been activated. He rebooted it and showed up on the yacht’s radar for the first time – a mile away from the yacht.
His crewmates had worked out where they thought he could be, according to the wind speed and direction but he was a lot further away than they had anticipated.
An hour-and-a-half of braving the elements later, his Clipper crewmates found him.
Andrew said: ‘The next thing I remember I was hearing voices from the boat, screaming and shouting. I turned around and there was the boat.’
The yacht, with skipper Sean McCarter at the helm, came up alongside him and Andrew clipped on, although he was dragged into the water and swallowed ‘huge amounts of water’ before he managed to climb aboard.
He said: ‘I felt an enormous sense of relief.’
Andrew can’t remember the next three to four hours as his crewmates rallied around, cut his gear off and warmed him up with hot water bottles and sleeping bags.
He praised his crewmates as ‘amazing.’
Andrew’s drysuit and AIS beacon are credited to his survival.
The incident happened on day 14 of Race 10 in the 16-stage Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht race which is currently racing to San Francisco, USA from Qingdao, China.
The catering manager from London who has worked at Formula 1, the London 2012 Olympics and Wembley Stadium, UK, is seven months into the 40,000 mile, 11-month long ocean odyssey.
The 12-strong Clipper Race fleet left St Katharine Docks next to Tower Bridge, London on 1 September 2013 and will return, finishing in the same place on 12 July 2014.
Picture and interview credit: www.clipperroundtheworld.com