Man overboard recovered

Near disaster mid-Pacific in Clipper round the world race

Wednesday January 29th 2003, Author: Loretta Spridgeon, Location: Transoceanic

Nicola Reading, a 31-year-old Telecoms Marketing Manager from Beccles in Suffolk, UK, fell overboard whilst racing aboard the 60ft yacht Cape Town Clipper in the Pacific Ocean at 08:55 GMT on Tuesday, 28 January.

The incident occurred during the Ko Olina Cup Race from Galapagos to Hawaii, part of the Clipper 2002 Round the World Yacht Race. The crew member was successfully recovered, without injury, after 12 minutes in the water.

Nicola, who is competing in the whole eleven-month challenge, fell overboard during a spinnaker drop. In squally conditions at 23:55 local time on Monday, 27 January, Nicola was on the foredeck gathering a lowered spinnaker when a gust caught the sail and pushed her over the side. The crew swiftly put into operation the man overboard recovery drill they spend so long practicing and Nicola was brought back on board, shaken but unharmed.

Clipper Ventures’ Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, said that although losing someone over the side at night was a skipper’s worst-nightmare scenario, Nicola’s efficient recovery highlighted the benefit of the crews’ intensive training.

This is the only time an incident of this nature has occurred in the Clipper Race, which has so far successfully taken over 700 amateur crew around the world.

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