A SAILOR was thrown overboard as those competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race battled “monstrous” storms in the early hours of this morning.

In what were the worst storms to hit the fleet since they left London, Derry-Londonderry-Doire crew member Andrew Taylor was hurled overboard into the Pacific Ocean while changing a sail in the rough weather that saw gusts of winds up to 70 knots.

The sailor was in the water for more than an hour before he was spotted and dragged back on board, in shock and possibly suffering from hypothermia.

Daily Echo:

Thankfully the conditions have now subsided and the sails are being increased again as the long awaited north westerly front passes over.

Daily Echo:

Gosport's Gareth Glover, skipper of Qingdao, said: “What a 24 hours it's been. After being a little too far north, the eye of the low passed over us giving us very little wind for a few hours before going more to the west and building fast.

Daily Echo:

Andy Taylor, 46, was thrown overboard during gusts of winds reaching 70 knots

“Within a few hours we were under reefed mainsail and powering along at 20 plus knots hitting 30 a few times. As night fell it was getting too hard to helm under our sail plan and in the end the wind built to a good 50 knots, running under reefed mainsail only, still at speeds over 10 knots.

“As the low was passing the sea state was the biggest we have seen so far since London. I was glad it was pitch black as there were some monster waves. It was the hardest night sail so far to helm with the wind and sea, and of course the rain still.”

Invest Africa has held onto its first place, with GREAT Britain moving ahead of third-placed Henri Lloyd.