The Northern Irish entry has finished its toughest leg yet of the Clipper Race, with rescued round the world crew member Andrew Taylor going to hospital upon arrival following the man overboard incident in the Pacific last week.
The yacht crossed the finish line in sixth place at 13: 28 local time, 21:28 UTC under San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Derry Londonderry Mayor Cllr Martin Reilly praised the efforts of skipper Sean McCarter and the entire team for their finish after their role in the rescue operation which saw Andrew recovered after spending 90 minutes in the extreme cold of the Pacific on 31 March.
After an examination and x-ray of his leg, the doctors at the Saint Francis Memorial Hospital have confirmed it is not broken, but he is suffering with a serious deep contusion, or bruising.
He will see an orthopaedic surgeon on Monday for further assesment on the leg to see whether he can continue with the race following the injury sustained when he hit the starboard rudder shortly after going over the side.
Andrew said: "I’m under no illusion that I am a very lucky man. I’m very happy to be here in San Francisco - I need to say thank you to a lot of these guys behind me for the work that they put in for the search and rescue operation. I also need to thank Olly Cotterell, the skipper of OneDLL, and the crew of OneDLL who suspended racing to come and assist in the search operation immediately. I need to say a massive thank to the Clipper Race team and the work that they did - in particular liaising with my family which is not an easy thing to do. They did an amazing job - my family speak very highly of them.
"It was horrific, the storm in particular - it was hard for these guys on the boat, it made the search harder but the storm treated me very badly. It beat me up badly and it was a hard time.
"I kept myself really busy whilst I was in the water. There was a lot for me to do a lot for me to concentrate on and what I needed to do to survive. The guys on the boat were doing everything they needed to do so it was important I did the same. There were a few times I did wonder if I was going to get back on the boat or not but I’m here and on the boat, many thanks to the crew, it was an epic piece of work to find me.
"Right now I need to go and get my leg sorted out and that’s my priority. There are some key points we can learn from this. It’s not a good way to learn - believe me I’m a lucky boy. I’m very glad to be here and I’m looking forward to spending a few days in San Francisco and getting back on board as soon as I possibly can."
Skipper Sean McCarter said: "It always feels good to arrive into port this time more so than ever not just because it was such along difficult leg but also because of Andrew’s incident. It really puts it into perspective how lucky you are each time you arrive and everyone is safe and well.The morale on board is pretty good, it’s always pretty good, obviously with some worrying moments but the guys dealt with everything incredibly well.
"We took it easy once we got Andrew back onboard probably for around 24 hours – I wasn’t sure how everyone was feeling or how they would react to getting back into race mode but I think it was the best thing for us and once we concentrated on that, we went back to normal and since then it’s been great. We’ve had a good time and a good race. Unfortunately we fell off the back of the weather that the leaders came in on which was a bit unfortunate but we are just so happy to be here."
Mayor Cllr Martin Reilly said without a doubt, the team's quick thinking and professional response ultimately saved Andrew’s life.
"The excellent training and skills of your skipper and crew contributed enormously to the successful rescue and we are all indebted to you.
“I would like to extend the best wishes on behalf of the people of the city of Derry-Londonderry-Doire to Andrew and wish him a speedy recovery and extend our thanks to Sean and the crew for their continued efforts and support.
“You are continuing to put Derry~Londonderry~Doire on the global map and showcasing our city to an international audience.”