One year after an MOB in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in which crew member Andrew Taylor was successfully rescued after 100 minutes in the water, Sir Robin has revealed the development of a new automatically activated AIS beacon.
Andrew Taylor, 47, was hit by a huge wave and swept overboard on 30 March 2014 from the Derry~Londonderry~Doire 2013-14 race entry. His incredible rescue is told in a book launched today called ‘179W – One Seven Nine West’ named after the exact co-ordinates where he fell overboard; it details his fight for survival and pays tribute to the training, team and equipment that saved his life.
“Reading Andrew’s account one year on was very emotional, says Sir Robin. “His team – led by skipper Sean McCarter – did an exceptional job in recovering him. We have learnt a lot of valuable lessons from the rescue and as a result are now developing new technology for a range of AIS beacons.”
"It was a result of Andrew’s experience, the fact that he could have been knocked unconscious when he hit the rudder, the fact that his lifejacket did not automatically inflate (we found the reason for this later) and that his beacon was initially switched onto test instead of activate, causing a life threatening delay, we decided to try to create an automatically activated beacon,” continues Sir Robin.
“After close collaboration and intense development between the Clipper Race team, technology partner Spinnaker International and McMurdo Group, I am glad to say that we now have a prototype, using the McMurdo AIS Beacon and will be making sea trials in mid-April. We were lucky to get Andrew back and at the Clipper Race we don’t believe in relying on luck where safety is concerned."
When Andrew activated his McMurdo AIS MOB device after about an hour in the water, his crew was able to pinpoint his exact location and come to his aid faster than following their search pattern; vital minutes for Andrew’s survival after being in the water for so long.
Skipper Sean McCarter, crew members Michelle Porter, Susie Redhouse and Jason Middleton, along with Andrew’s parents, daughter and more joined together with Sir Robin. McMurdo and Henri Lloyd to launch the book at the Tower Hotel in St Katharine Docks.
Andrew says: “I have always considered myself lucky to be fit and healthy and able to travel the world experiencing adventure and pushing some of the boundaries of life. I am under no illusion however. I am a very lucky boy to have escaped this particular life adventure alive.
“Many of the fleeting moments on that fateful day in March 2014 could easily have ended differently. As could have the subsequent story’s ending. If I still had nine lives at the moment, I definitely used more than one of them in escaping this.
“I genuinely believe as a result of some of the outcomes of this event, lives will now be saved in the future. For both this and escaping with my own life, I am totally humbled and shall be eternally grateful to many very special people.”
Copies of the book, a personal account of Andrew’s round the world experience, can be ordered online at www.179w.co.uk.
All proceeds from the book will be split equally between The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and The Newmarket Day Centre, which supported Andrew’s family while he was on the race.
Click here to watch the footage of Andrew’s rescue.