Lessons from Man Overboard Incidents
The Clipper around the world yacht race is an event open to anyone who satisfies the fitness test who wishes to achieve the ultimate in sailing, a circumnavigation. It is now the only event of its type that is open to amateurs.
The 11th edition of the events starts later this year and will involve more than 700 crew on board the 12 sister 70 foot yachts which comply with the MCA’s rules for commercially operated yachts. Inevitably with 10 races and nearly 5,000 crew over the years there have been MOB situations, but in all incidents bar the last one, the crew were recovered alive.
Although there is a compulsory minimum training of 4 sessions, each a week in length as well as revision during the race in each of which Man Overboard recovery is practised, crew can still forget to clip on their safety harnesses which has been the cause of all the incidents.
Once a person has fallen overside, speed of recovery is imperative to avoid death through hypothermia. The main obstacle to a speedy recovery has always been the sea conditions. Over the years the Clipper race has introduced a number of innovative systems to speed search and recovery, few of which are yet in general usage.
The speaker will discuss actual incidents, the lessons learned and applied to prevent people falling overside, finding them quickly in poor conditions and their recovery on board.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE - Chairman, Clipper Ventures
RKJ went to sea in the Merchant Navy in 1957 as a Deck officer with the British India Steam Navigation Company, gaining his Master's Certificate in 1965.
RKJ was the first person to sail single handed and non-stop around the world between 14th June 1968 and 22nd April 1969.
In 1992 RKJ was invited to become President of the Sail Training Association, a youth development organisation which operated two topsail schooners ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ and ‘Malcolm Miller’ and also organised the annual Tall Ships races. Before he retired in 2001 £11 million had been raised to replace these two vessels with two larger brigs 'Prince William' and 'Stavros Niarchos'.
He served as a Trustee of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich from 1993 until 2003, and on the Sports Lottery Panel and Sport England Council from 1996 until 2002. He is currently President of the Little Ship Club and the Cruising Association and Chairman of Clipper Ventures plc.
He skippered ‘Condor’ to Line Honours in two legs of the 1977/8 Whitbread Race, co-skippered ‘Enza New Zealand’ with the late Peter Blake to take the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 for the fastest circumnavigation of the world, and completed the Velux5Oceans solo around the world race in 4th position in 2006/7 at the age of 68.
He was Knighted in 1995, and has uniquely been the UK's Yachtsman of the Year 3 times. He was ISAF sailor of the Year with Peter Blake in 1994 and in 2007 was one of the first 6 inductees into the ISAF Hall of Fame.