Sunday, April 13, 2014

A narrow escape and a dramatic rescue

Nautically-minded readers will be aware that the latest Clipper Round The World Yacht Race is under way at present, with much of the fleet having arrived in San Francisco after completing the 6th leg of the race from Qingdao, China.  It's a unique event, with a dozen identical yachts supplied by the organizers and crews sponsored by various businesses, groups and other organizations.  You can read more about it at the race Web site.

Needless to say, there are dangers involved in pushing relatively small sailing craft to the very limits of their design, performance and safety limits in a race around the world.  Andrew Taylor found that out the hard way at the end of last month when he fell overboard while changing a sail.  You can read the details here.  His recovery from the sea was filmed by a crewman, and makes dramatic viewing. I recommend watching it in full-screen mode.

Once safely back on board, he spoke about his experience.  You can tell from his voice how shaken he is.  He's a very lucky man to be alive.

Kudos to the crew for locating him, just over an hour after he went overboard.  He was in the water for about an hour and a half.  The weather was pretty rough, as the video demonstrates, with 35-knot winds.

On arrival in San Francisco a couple of days ago, Andrew was taken to hospital.  He's suffering from very deep bruising in his leg, which may affect his chances of completing the race - there's no point in his trying to act as a crew member when he's not up to the physical demands of the job.  Regardless, let's hope he makes a full recovery.


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