An amateur sailor, who survived for more than 90 minutes in the Pacific after falling overboard, said he was determined to stay alive because he didn’t want to die on his mum’s birthday.
Newmarket-born Andrew Taylor, 46, who set out last summer to sail around the world as part of a 20-strong crew in the Clipper Round the World yacht race, fell off the bow while changing a sail in rough seas and high winds as the yacht made its way from Qingdao in China, to San Francisco.
He then watched in horror as the boat sped onwards leaving him alone and at the mercy of the ocean.
The yacht turned around, and sent out a mayday alert but it was more than an hour before it was eventually able to locate him.
“I had started to think about what would happen if they didn’t find me,” said Andrew
“It was at that time I had a few quiet moments and started thinking ‘God, maybe the boat is a long way away, maybe they’re not going to find me now. I remember at that point thinking it’s my mum’s birthday, and I hadn’t yet got round to sending her a message. I remember thinking no, not on my mum’s birthday - this is not a good time, I’m not going to die, I’m not going to let that happen. I realised I was in a bad place.”
Andrew’s mum is Eileen Taylor, 71, who lives with his dad, Tony, 70, in Newmarket’s St Philips Road.
“Andrew was not looking forward to this leg of the race as he had had a bad time in the Southern Ocean and he knew this one was going to be worse,” said Tony. “He was very, very lucky. It was an awful situation.
“He had spent more money than he needed to have done on a special dry suit which goes over the top of his clothing. It cost thousands but it was that that saved his life as the temperature of the water was only eight degrees. When they pulled him out they had to cut it off him but the company are going to give him a new one.”
After being pulled out of the sea, Andrew was taken below decks for treatment by the on-board paramedic. He was suffering from shock and hypothermia and a suspected broken leg.
“When he fell he crashed into the rudder and the leg will have to be x-rayed when they reach San Francisco. If it is broken, he may have to leave the yacht,” said Tony.