The long awaited north westerly front arrived yesterday, causing 50 knots of wind and gusts up to 70 knots creating ‘monstrous’ seas for the fleet.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew member Andrew Taylor fell overboard while changing a sail in the rough weather and was rescued from the Pacific Ocean in the early hours of this morning.
He went over the side at 23.43 UTC Sunday and was sighted again at 00.55 UTC before being recovered at approximately 01.13 UTC this morning (13.13 local time, 30 March). He may have hypothermia and is in shock but is said to be in relatively good spirits as he is treated by on board paramedic, Susie Redhouse.
The conditions have now subsided and the sails are being increased again following decreased sail plans for more than 24 hours while the fleet waited for the low pressure system to arrive.
Gareth Glover, skipper of Qingdao, said: “What a 24 hours it’s been. After being a little too far north, the eye of the low passed over us giving us very little wind for a few hours before going more to the west and building fast.
“Within a few hours we were under reefed mainsail and powering along at 20 plus knots hitting 30 a few times. As night fell it was getting too hard to helm under our sail plan and in the end the wind built to a good 50 knots, running under reefed mainsail only, still at speeds over 10 knots. As the low was passing the sea state was the biggest we have seen so far since London. I was glad it was pitch black as there were some monster waves. It was the hardest night sail so far to helm with the wind and sea, and of course the rain still.”
Simon Talbot, skipper of GREAT Britain added: “For much of the night we were running with a tiny sail plan and 50 knots of average wind, with regular gusts to 75 knots. It was definitely not a ride for the fainthearted, in fact I would say it was epic!”
The teams have also been crossing the International Date Line, effectively becoming time travellers moving a whole calendar day backwards as they go from the eastern to the western hemisphere.
Invest Africa has held onto its first place, with GREAT Britain moving ahead of third-placed Henri Lloyd.
To follow the fleet’s progress, you can see the official Race Viewer HERE
To read all the skipper reports, click HERE
To read the crew diaries, click HERE