Man overboard rescued after 1.5 hours at sea

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A sailor fell overboard while attempting to change a sail in rough seas Sunday, and he wasn't sure if crew members were aware he had gone missing.

The incident occurred aboard the Derry-Londonderry-Doire in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, halfway through the 5,600-mile leg across the Pacific Ocean from Qingdao, China, to San Francisco, according to The Telegraph.

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The man overboard is circled, showing how difficult it was to locate him. Screen grab from video

Andrew Taylor, 46, of London, had been working on a sail change in the bow with skipper Sean McCarter, who immediately turned the yacht around to look for Taylor and sent out a mayday.

"In these conditions a man overboard is swept away from the boat very quickly and visual contact can be lost in the swell," race director Justin Taylor told The Telegraph. "We have a well-rehearsed procedure to mark the position, stop racing, and engage the engine to search for and recover the crew member as quickly as possible."


A crew member helps bring the man overboard to safety; screen grab from video below

It was more than an hour before the crew located Taylor, who was wearing an orange dry-suit and a bright-yellow life jacket.

By the time crew members had plucked Taylor to safety, he had been in the water for one and a half hours.

"An hour and a half is a very long time to be in the water in these conditions, but a combination of his sea survival training and seven months at sea, as well as wearing a life jacket and dry suit, will have contributed enormously to his survival," Justin Taylor told The Telegraph.

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Andrew Taylor, the man overboard, being attended to by medics aboard the yacht; screen grab from video

Andrew Taylor told crew members afterward, "It happened so quickly, so quickly.

"I braced myself waiting for the safety line. Next thing I knew I hit the rudder. There was a flash of purple, then smack on the rudder.

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

Taylor was treated on the yacht for hypothermia and shock.

This was the fourth time a sailor had fallen overboard in the 18-year history of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the world's longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles. In the other three incidents, the sailors were retrieved within minutes.

"The sea can be a harsh environment and we rehearse every eventuality, including a man overboard," race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston told The Telegraph.

"The MOB procedures were put into practice flawlessly by the crew in difficult conditions. It is a tribute to their training and determination that Andrew was successfully recovered."

Here's the entire rescue from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race YouTube channel:

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