Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag retain the lead in Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, despite a dramatic man overboard scenario on Sunday. Crew member Alex Gough was washed overboard by a wave during a sail change, near midday local time on Sunday afternoon, 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 helmsman 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.”
The manoeuvre cost the team some miles, but they had a few to spare, and still lead the fleet on the fast charge westward towards Hong Kong, now just over 2,000 nautical miles away. Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel continue to take a northerly option in comparison to the rest of the fleet, but to this point, are not seeing significantly different weather conditions.
MAPFRE has worked well to push out some 30 miles ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel but remains at least 150 miles directly behind Scallywag and with some work to do to reel in the leaders as the fleet winds and weaves through the islands, islets and atolls of Micronesia.
Leg 4 – Position Report – Sunday 14 January (Day 13) – 13:00 UTC
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