A MAN thrown overboard during a Hampshire run yacht race has spoken of his fight to survive amid cold waters and mountainous waves.
As reported by the Daily Echo, Andrew Taylor was washed off the Derry-Londonderry-Doire boat in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and was dramatically rescued by teammates.
Mr Taylor, 46, was missing for almost two hours and had to be treated for shock and possible hypothermia on the boat by a fellow crew member who is a paramedic.
The yacht was about halfway on the 5,600-mile leg across the Pacific from Qingdao to San Francisco when the accident happened.
Speaking in a video interview from the yacht, now 2,000 miles from San Francisco, he told about the terrifying moments in the water when the boat began sailing away.
He said: “The sea was really rough and I was just seeing the mast rather than the boat.
“Then I saw the side of the boat and a bit later I saw the other side of the boat so I guessed then that the boat was probably doing some searching.
“Then I saw someone up the mast and when that was really cool because that meant they are looking for me.”
Andrew Taylor was thrown overboard by 'monstrous' storms
But just as this happened a storm hit, making the search harder.
He said: “I lost the boat in the storm. I could not see where it was. I was disorientated at that point I could not see the boat at all.
“For a while I did not want to look at it because it was a long way away. I kept myself busy when I was in the water and tried hard not to think about the bad things.
“I don't think I was ever scared.
“I was concerned about whether the boat was looking for me or not.”
At this point his thoughts turned to loved ones at home and the time spent before he set off.
“I remembered conversations about risks,” he said.
“There was a point where I remembered it was my mum's birthday. I thought please not on my mum's birthday. I need to get back onto the boat.”
But the cold water was taking its toll and hypothermia was setting in.
He said: “The sun was shining through the window on the spray hood and it was warm on my face. I felt quite relaxed.
“I put my head back with the sun shining on me and I felt comfortable and really not cold at all. I wasn't shivering, I was not scared, and then I remember that is a bad thing, a bad place, and I wanted to get cold again.
“I knew that warm was bad and I did not want to go to sleep.
“The next thing I remember was voices from the boat, I heard people shouting and screaming and I turned around and there was the boat.”
The 12-strong Clipper Race fleet left St Katharine Docks next to Tower Bridge, London on September 1 and will return, finishing in the same place on July 12 this year.
Gosport based clipper ventures organises the race which was founded by Hampshire based racing legend Robin Knox-Johnston and crewed by amateurs with help from professional skippers.