Team Scallywag, a Volvo Ocean 65, was sailing deep in the South Pacific before a building gale when British crew member John Fisher was washed overboard on March 26. The team spent several hours looking for Fisher in challenging conditions but were never able to recover their team mate.
“Given the cold water temperatures and the extreme sea state, along with the time that has now passed since he went overboard, we must now presume that John has been lost at sea,” said Richard Brisius, the President of the Volvo Ocean Race, on March 27.
Team Scallywag was about 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn, Chile, at the time of the incident and some 200 miles upwind behind the rest of the fleet, which hampered rescue efforts. Brisius says, “We immediately coordinated with the team as well as the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, who located a ship and diverted it towards the scene. But it remained over a day away.
Fisher, 47, was competing in his first Volvo Ocean Race but had years of open-ocean, big-boat experience. “Despite the dangers of the sport, he loved sailing. He is one of our own, a long-standing member of the team. He is a great and experienced sailor, the finest human being and a true Scallywag,” said Lee Seng Huang, owner of Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag via Facebook.