UPDATE 0830 UTC
An update on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag crew member John Fisher, from Richard Brisius, the President of the Volvo Ocean Race:
This morning I am extremely sad to inform you that one of our sailors, John Fisher, from Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, is now presumed to have been lost at sea.
This is heart-breaking for all of us. As sailors and race organisers losing a crew member at sea is a tragedy we don't ever want to contemplate. We are devastated and our thoughts are with John’s family, friends and teammates.
Yesterday, just after 1300 UTC, Race Control for the Volvo Ocean Race were informed of a man overboard situation by Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.
We immediately coordinated with the team as well as the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, who have located a ship and diverted it towards the scene. But at current speeds it remains over a day away.
With the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet approximately 200 miles downwind, sending them back upwind to assist, against gale to storm force winds, was not a viable option.
The Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag team conducted an exhaustive search for several hours in extremely challenging weather conditions, but they were unable to recover their teammate.
Given the cold water temperature and the extreme sea state, along with the time that has now passed since he went overboard, we must now presume that John has been lost at sea.
All of us here at the Volvo Ocean Race organisation send our heartfelt condolences out to John’s family, his friends and his teammates and we will do everything in our power to support them in this very difficult time.
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag has now resumed heading in a north-easterly direction.
In fact, the team is currently in a challenging position – the weather is deteriorating and is forecast to be quite severe over the course of today.
The crew is, of course, emotionally and physically drained after what they have just experienced.
Our sole focus now is to provide all the support and assistance that we can to the team.
We are sure that there will be many questions about how one of our sailors was lost overboard yesterday.
We can address those after the team has been fully debriefed.
Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to John’s family and the entire Scallywag team.
UPDATE 0100 UTC
Search and Rescue operation continues for Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag sailor
The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is continuing to lead efforts to recover Volvo Ocean Race sailor John Fisher (UK), who was reported overboard off Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag early on Monday afternoon UTC.
The Scallywag team, assisted by the MRCC, conducted an exhaustive search and rescue operation in an effort to recover Fisher, who was on watch and wearing appropriate survival gear when he went overboard.
The remaining crew are reported safe.
The wind in the area at the time was a strong 35-knot westerly, with accompanying sea state. Water temperature was 9-degrees Celsius. There is still daylight, but weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate in the coming hours, and darkness will come at approximately 01:20 UTC.
The MRCC has already requested a ship, nearly 400 nautical miles away, divert to the scene.
The MRCC continues in attempts to contact other ships that may be able to assist.
The weather in the area is forecast to deteriorate significantly in the coming hours. Given the severity of the forecast and with nightfall an hour away, we acknowledge the chances of a successful recovery are diminishing.
SHK/Scallywag has thus made the difficult decision to turn downwind and head towards the South American coast, the nearest safe landfall, approximately 1,200 nautical miles away.
We will have more information as it becomes available.
UPDATE 1855 UTC
Man overboard on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag
Race Control for the Volvo Ocean Race has been informed by Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag of a man overboard incident on Monday afternoon at approximately 13:42 UTC.
The team, along with the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), has been conducting a search and rescue operation to recover the missing crew member, John Fisher (UK), who was wearing survival equipment when he went overboard. The remaining crew are reported safe.
The incident took place approximately 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn. The wind in the search area is a strong 35-knot westerly, with accompanying sea state. Water temperature is 9-degrees Celsius. There is daylight, but weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate in the coming hours.
Given the gale force conditions it is not an option to divert any of the other six Volvo Ocean Race competitors, who are at least 200 miles further east and downwind of Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, to assist in the search operation.
The MRCC has identified a ship approximately 400 nautical miles away and it has been diverted to the scene.
Naturally we are deeply concerned, especially given the weather conditions, and Race Control in Alicante is supporting the Scallywag team and MRCC throughout the operation.
We will have more information as it becomes available. The Volvo Ocean Race is a 45,000 nautical mile race around the world. The teams are currently on Day 9 of Leg 7, a 7,600-mile race from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajaí, Brazil.