Six crews in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet are facing challenging conditions as they race towards Cape Horn, still 900 miles and two days away.
The seventh team, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, is working to recover from the tragic loss of crew member John Fisher, who went overboard over 24 hours ago and is now presumed lost at sea, given the cold temperatures and rough sea conditions.
“We are devastated and our thoughts are with John’s family, friends and teammates,” said Volvo Ocean Race President Richard Brisius on Tuesday morning. “This is heart-breaking for all of us. As sailors and race organisers losing a crew member at sea is a tragedy we don’t ever want to contemplate.”
Race Director Phil Lawrence provided updates on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and the rest of the fleet on Tuesday afternoon:
“As you can imagine, the Scallywag crew is very shocked, they are very distressed, and our focus at the moment is getting the boat safely to Chile,” Lawrence said. “They are in bad weather conditions and we are sorting out a routing for them that will keep them safe and get them to port.
“The other teams are also in very difficult conditions, with gale force winds, and approaching Cape Horn. So they have a lot on. Yesterday we sent them a short notice about what had happened and this morning we sent them a note that sadly John had not been found.”
Race veteran Bouwe Bekking, the skipper of Team Brunel, who is currently leading the fleet towards Cape Horn, expressed his feelings which are representative of the sentiment across all of the sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race:
“We are deeply shocked by the loss of John Fisher, known to us sailors as ‘Fish’. Our thoughts are with his family and of course the Scallywag crew. There hasn’t been a moment since we heard that I didn’t wake up thinking about him…”
The six boats still racing in Leg 7 are now 900 miles from Cape Horn, with an ETA to round into the South Atlantic on Thursday UTC.
Team SHK/Scallywag is forecast to make landfall in approximatelhy four days time.