The crew of Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag made a textbook recovery during a man overboard situation on Sunday during Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Crew member Alex Gough was washed overboard by a wave during a sail change, near midday local time, in winds of 15-20 knots.
The team swung into recovery mode, and Gough was back on board within seven minutes, unharmed. Scallywag resumed racing immediately.
“He went out on the outrigger, I was driving, and we went off a big sea and it picked him up threw him off, like a horse,” skipper David Witt said.
“The main thing is, we got him back on board. He’s safe. But I think it’s shown everyone how hard it is to see the guy in the water. Even on a sunny day, 18 knots of wind… You wouldn’t want to be doing this in 20 knots in the dark.”
Gough wasn’t wearing a harness or a lifejacket. Witt says he should have been tethered, or at minimum have told the driver what he was doing, before he went outside the lifelines on the outrigger.
“I was pretty stupid, but luckily the guys were on to it. They turned around bloody quickly,” Gough said. “I’m good. I’m fine. It was a bit scary… But off we go again.”
SHK/Scallywag is the current leader of Leg 4, with 2,300 nautical miles left to sail to the finish line in Hong Kong.