Missing Volvo Ocean Race sailor was living out childhood dream

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 11:36AM
Sun Hung Kai Scallywag Team. (Photo / Getty Images)
Sun Hung Kai Scallywag Team. (Photo / Getty Images)

Sailor John Fisher was living out his childhood dream when he competed in the Volvo Ocean Race.

But in a sad and tragic turn of events, the sailing veteran was swept overboard and left "presumed lost at sea".

The 47-year-old father of two was reported overboard by crew members aboard Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

After searching tirelessly in tough sailing conditions, the crew aboard Scallywag were ordered to sail to the nearest port in Chile, while Volvo Ocean Race officials confirmed that Fisher was "lost at sea".

Fisher, who was born in the port city of Southampton, started sailing when he was kid.

Experienced sailor John Fisher is still missing. Photo / Volvo Ocean Race

Growing up on England's South Coast, Fisher's passion for sailing only grew as he often sailed the Solent strait, which separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.

Fisher then relocated to Adelaide, Australia, in 2008 before joining
the Christies Sailing Club.

With plenty of big boat experience, Fisher joined skipper David Witt to become a long-term member of the Ragamuffin super maxi crew.

Fisher competed in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, which has been described as one of the world's toughest offshore races.

Despite having raced in almost every major regatta around the globe, including the Fastnet, Sydney to Hobart and Trans Pacin, the Volvo Ocean Race was Fisher's holy grail.

In May 2014, Fisher's dream started to become a reality after Seng Huang Lee purchased Ragamuffin 100 and renamed the yacht Scallywag.

Fisher, along with several other Ragamuffin 100 crew members, were retained by Lee to join his Hong Kong based team, before they set sights on racing in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Fisher joined team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in the 2017/18 round-the-world race, before he was swept off the 65ft yacht in the remote Southern Ocean some 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn.

Prior to the loss of Fisher, there had been eight previous fatal accidents in round-the-world races.

Fisher was the fifth crew member in Volvo Ocean Race history to be fatally swept overboard.

Dutch Volvo Ocean Race sailor Hans Horrevoets fell off ABN AMRO TWO in the Atlantic Ocean in May 2006. ABN AMRO TWO crew turned back and found Horrevoets, but could not revive him.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has seen consecutive deaths of crew members in the past three years.


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