Volvo Ocean Race. Man overboard on Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

Big speeds and lots of water over the deck on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.
Photo by Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

Crew member Alex Gough was washed overboard by a wave during a sail change 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.”

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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.