FleetBroadband used in rescue of Clipper competitor

01 April 2014: A crew member in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race was rescued from the Pacific Ocean with help from Inmarsat FleetBroadband.

Andrew Taylor was swept into the sea by a giant wave while changing the sail in the early hours of Sunday.

He remained immersed in the icy water for an hour and a half before finally being spotted and rescued by his Derry-Londonderry-Doire crewmates.

Coordinated recovery

The incident happened on day 14 of Race 10 as the yachts raced from China to San Francisco, USA.

The crew used FleetBroadband to coordinate Andrew’s recovery with other yachts in the race and the coastguard.

Dramatic video footage of Andrew’s rescue was taken by crew members and transmitted via FleetBroadband to the UK Clipper headquarters.

Sea survival

Skipper Sean McCarter was working with Andrew near the bow when the incident happened and immediately stopped the yacht and started the man overboard (MOB) procedure.

Speaking after his ordeal, Andrew, said: “It all happened so quickly…I came up and braced myself waiting for the safety line and then the next thing I knew there was a flash of purple – I hit the rudder. It hurt!

“I didn’t know if anyone was looking for me or if anyone had seen me. I didn’t hear anyone shouting…I tried to swim around so I could see the boat, thinking they would come quickly, but the boat was getting further and further away.”

Massive waves

To make matters worse, a storm hit the area, creating massive waves and raining hailstones while he waited for his crewmates to rescue him.

London-based Andrew was treated by the onboard medic, crew member Susie Redhouse, for shock and possible hypothermia.

Justin Taylor, Race Director, said that crew are trained in a procedure to mark the position, stop racing and engage the engine to recover the crew member as quickly as possible.

Tailored hardware

Inmarsat’s services for the 40,000 mile (64,360 km) 16-stage race are supplied by Marine Camera Solutions.

Livewire Connections provide specially tailored hardware and airtime solutions for the race, including a Cobham SATCOM SAILOR 250 FleetBroadband terminal, providing voice and data communications for the crews on each of the 12 yachts.

FleetBroadband is also used for operational and crew email, as well as keeping abreast of weather conditions. They can also send stored video footage, as well as stream live video to the media team, allowing sponsors and fans to follow every moment of the race.

Medical attention

In order to track the boats, the race organisers are using SAILOR 6150 Mini-C antennas and Transas FleetViewOnline software, allowing the race team to manually poll the fleet positions during emergency situations.

Inmarsat’s services have been used in two medical emergencies since the race began in St Katherine’s Dock, London, in September, 2013.

PSP Logistics crew member Angie Faulkner dislocated her shoulder after falling into the cockpit earlier this month and a few days later, Mick Wood, 63, a crew member of Jamaica Get All Right, was diagnosed with pneumonia.

The race ends back in St Katharine Docks on 12 July, 2014.

Clipper Round the World: www.clipperroundtheworld.com