You’re in the middle of the Pacific making a sail change in 50 knots of wind and gusts to 70 knots. And you go over the side.
Add to this terrifying situation the fact that you are not a professional racing sailor but a middle-aged project manager from London.
It happened last night to Andrew Taylor, 46, a participant in the Clipper Round the World Race. It was day 14 during race 10, mid-route between Qingdao, China, and San Francisco in the worst sea states the teams have seen since the race began Sept. 1, 2013, in London.
The crew of the 70-foot Derry-Londonderry was prepared for such an incident and reportedly performed well, despite sea conditions that made keeping visual contact impossible. Taylor was in the water for an hour and a half.
"In these conditions, a man overboard is swept away from the boat very quickly, and visual contact can be lost in the swell,” said race director Justin Taylor.
"An hour and a half is a very long time to be in the water in these conditions, but a combination of his sea survival training and seven months at sea, as well as wearing a life jacket and dry suit, will have contributed enormously to his survival."
The Clipper Round the World Race offers ordinary people a chance to race around the world, providing expert training and a professional captain for each sponsored yacht in the yearlong event.