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Would be interested to know what the lifevest had, Between DSC/AIS and EPIRB you have global and local options to find the guy, Even with AIS out personal epirbs or a backup dsc beacon should be available.


I sincerely hope they weren't relying on a single system :(

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Was he actually wearing his life jacket?

All of the footage I have seen on the 'raw' media coverage shows all crews with LJ's, I haven't seen anyone on deck without one.

In saying that, they often have incidents where the off-watch crew are called up urgently.


Skallywag did a crash gybe yesterday. The video was on the 'daily update'. The driver stated he was about to plant it into the back of a wave, thus sending green water over the boat. He saw a crewman move to the leeward side. So he stated, on video, yesterday, that he did he crash gybe deliberately so as to not wash the crewman overboard.


You'd normally call that a near miss, discuss and change crew behaviour, i.e. about going to the leeward side without communicating with the driver. A crash gybe and recovery, or similar event would most likely warrant all crew on deck. I couldn't comment if they take the time to get dressed properly before going up (i.e. put on LJ's).


There is zero info on what has happened here, and I'm not making any comment on that, just restating what was said on video yesterday by a driver on Skallywag (rather a crash gybe than a MOB).


First video down on this link


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This link says:

Fisher, who was on watch and wearing appropriate survival gear when he went overboard.


That's a pretty concerning statement in my opinion. 

The gear obviously wasn't appropriate because 

                 1. He went overboard in 35 knots

                 2. I don't think he survived !


Maybe the tether broke, but what happened to the ais and personal epirb?

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According to this link



he would have been carrying 2 x ais and 1 x PLB. One ais being auto activation, the PLB being manual activation. I'm not entirely sure why you would need 2x ais on one person. I can understand why you would carry an ais and a plb.


There are reports that Skallywags ais was not working earlier in the leg. Its not clear if this was the transponder or what. With the dsc on this gear, fairly much any vhf should pick it up even with a broken ais.


As for a manual PLB, the cold shock would be such that it would be 50:50 at best if the casualty could get that out and activated. 

Also, given a 10 m swell, I wouldn't think ais at sea level would have a very effective range.


If he was carrying all that gear and they still can't find him (even the body) clearly something has gone wrong.

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From above link "the rescueME MOB1 is automatically triggered the moment the life jacket is inflated".


Are the lifejackets auto inflating? Doesn't seem likely given the boats look to be so wet? From this equipment list "Lifejacket – Auto & Harness, complete with Spray Hood & Manual Adaptor Kit"


So if he was unable to inflate the jacket, the AIS would never have been activated....? (And even if it did, wouldn't be much use given likely survival time without LJ inflated).

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Don't want to make any assumptions, but I'm sure I recall an incident on leg 2, where a lifejacket did auto inflate on 1 of the boats and this also triggered the PLB.

Certainly wouldn't want to speculate on being clipped on or not, but with wetsuit gloves and then mittens on top, it would be an easy mistake to think you're hooked on but not quite.

Think what you like of David Witt and some of the comments that come out of his mouth, but this is tragic. He's only recently spoken about how stressed out he was regarding the safety of the crew down there.

They also have their hands full just getting out of there now with the weather deteriorating around them.

I wish them the best.

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It's really concerning and sad. Scallywag has now broken off the search and heading toward land. There is a search effort continuing, but no sighting so far.

He is supposed to be wearing a Survival suit. So how long can someone stay warm enough in that water in one of those things? Are we talking less than an hr or a few hrs, or?

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About 6-8 hours for 7 deg water for a good suit and an average man (circa 85KG, 18% body fat)

Sad event. Be interested to know why they could not locate him - not having the gear, or gear malfunction etc. Reports on what he had are very vague at this time.

My condolences to his family, and all concerned :-( 

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In that sort of water temperature you will not last long regardless of what you are wearing and how much identifying locator technology you have.

Simply put the yacht has sailed a significant distance away from you in a raging sea.

Could actually be miles before the crew accomplished a reverse course and a horrendous beat to wind and sea to return.

I know somebody that parted company with their yacht in similar conditions in a similar part of the ocean.

Wife and daughter wacked the boat into reverse with the motor and reversed down large seas to successfully pluck hubby from the sea.

Lucky man.

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Very sad. At its simplest, many life jackets dont inflate.....because the CO2 bottle has vibrated a couple of turns loose.

The only security (small) in those conditions is a full harness with extremely strong tether and Jack lines. They should be very short as well..

I personalty think that stanchions and wire safety lines are a dangerous joke. They are to low and way to flimsy. Sliding along them is also no joke.

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Wheels, from my understanding, they're similar, but survival suits tend to include higher tech than dry suits.


Dry suits are a step or two up from a hardcore ocean bibs&jacket combo (eg, Musto HPX): https://www.waveinn.com/nautical-fishing/sailing-equipment-drysuits/11810/s


I believe survival suits often have to pass certain criteria to be considered as such (eg, flame- and impact-resistance, inflatable chambers, etc): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_suit


So a survival suit is a dry suit but not all dry suits are survival suits. Not sure what's standard kit for VOR.

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I entered in the wrong forum, I have all wondered why they have not got a flair on there shoulder and a tracker to the boats gps so they can drop the gear turn and follow the track to the mob , the flair to position the boat for retrieval , the ocean wet weather gears company’s should get involved with this for these king of races. These guys are speeding along so fast covering the ground quickly

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From the volvo website




The following story has been issued on behalf of Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag
On Monday 26 March, Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag lost John Fisher overboard in the Southern Ocean, approximately 1,400 nautical miles west of Cape Horn.
Despite conducting an exhaustive search in gale force conditions, he has not been recovered.
“This is the worst situation you can imagine happening to your team,” said SHK/Scallywag Team Manager Tim Newton, who has spoken with skipper David Witt and navigator Libby Greenhalgh about what happened on Monday.
“We are absolutely heart-broken for John’s family and friends. I know for David, he has lost his best friend. It’s devastating.”
Newton says he asked the crew to put together a timeline of events to ensure accurate reporting on the incident and it follows here:
On Monday, 26 March, SHK/Scallywag was racing in Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil, approximately 1,400 nautical miles west of Cape Horn
Weather conditions were 35-45 knots with 4 to 5 metre seas with showers reducing visibility. It was 15 minutes before sunrise
The team was sailing with a single reef in the mainsail and the J2 jib. The Fractional 0 (FR0) sail was hoisted but furled
At roughly 1300 UTC SHK/Scallywag surfed down a large wave leading to an accidental crash gybe
John Fisher was on deck, in the cockpit. At the time, he was moving forward to tidy up the FR0 sheet and had therefore unclipped his tether
As the mainsail swung across the boat in the gybe, the mainsheet system caught John and knocked him off the boat. The crew on board believe John was unconscious from the blow before he hit the water
He was wearing a survival suit with a wetsuit hood and gloves and a lifejacket
The JON buoy and the horseshoe buoy were thrown off the back of the boat to mark the position
It took some time to get the boat under control and motor sail back to a position near where the man overboard occurred
At 1342 (UTC), the team informed Race Control, by email, that there was a man overboard and they were returning to the MOB position to start a search pattern
With input from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and Race Control in Alicante, a search and rescue operation was carried out for several hours but there was no sign of John, the horseshoe buoy, or the JON buoy
With weather conditions deteriorating, a difficult decision was taken to abandon the search and preserve the safety of the remaining crew
Newton says the team is distraught but has a clear focus on getting the crew and boat back to shore.
“This situation isn’t over yet for our team,” Newton said. “The conditions are extremely challenging, with strong winds and a forecast for a building sea state over the next couple of days. Our sole focus, with the assistance of Race Control in Alicante is to get the team into port safely.
“Once we have achieved that, we have time to de-brief more fully and ensure that any lessons that can be learned from what happened to John are incorporated by the rest of the fleet going forward.
“That would be a tremendous legacy for John, who spent so much of his time passing the learnings from his lifetime of experience at sea onto the younger sailors on our team.”
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out of respect for the sailor and his family Matt, I'd like to see this thread cease. There is no room for speculative comments, no questions to be answered, and while there is plenty to discuss this isn't the place or the time.


Its just bloody sad.



RIP John Fisher 

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