Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

‘Scallywags never give up!’ – Hong Kong boat to continue in Volvo Ocean Race in honour of lost sailor John Fisher

Skipper David Witt says in a Facebook post that the team are aiming to start leg eight from Brazil to Newport, United States on April 22

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 April, 2018, 6:54am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 April, 2018, 6:54am

In honour of lost team member John Fisher, the crew of Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag have decided to continue to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race with skipper David Witt offering a rousing rallying cry on Facebook.

“Scallywags never give up!” wrote Witt, three days after the Volvo 65 boat arrived in Puerto Montt in Chile, where they crew have been resting and recovering from the emotional stress of losing 47-year-old Fisher, who was knocked overboard on March 26 and is presumed lost at sea.

“When you’re feeling the pain, And you’re sick of the game, But you’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright, You pick yourself up and dust yourself down, Cos it’s the carrying on that’s hard,” wrote Witt.

“Scallywags will continue!

“We will make the start we will look after each other we will finish the race and do the best job we can for all Scallywags in John’s memory and honour.

“On behalf of all the team I would like to thank all our supporters for all the messages of support it has helped us enormously in this difficult time.”

The Scallywag crew are now in a race against time to reach Itajai, Brazil for the start of the 5,700-mile eighth leg on April 22 to Newport, Rhode Island, in the United States.

An eight-strong delivery crew have arrived in Puerto Montt and the plan is for them to head for the Straight of Magellan, emerge into the Atlantic Ocean in the south of Argentina and sail towards Itajai.

Fisher, a close friend of Witt, was knocked overboard after he had unclipped his safety tether to fix a furled sail in difficult conditions, with five-metre high waves and 35-40 knot winds.

It has since been a physically and emotionally draining time for the Scallywag crew, who decided to abandon leg seven of the race but still needed to make the 1,200 journey to Chile in difficult conditions.

Witt said strong bonds between the members of the crew helped them endure the pain of losing Fisher.

“The Scallywags aren’t just a sailing team... we are a family with strong bonds who are always there for each other and look after each other, they flew to the end of the Earth at a hour’s notice.” he said.

“They’re the delivery team!

“The 8 sailors, made up of some of the legends of the sea; Campbell Knox, Douglas Knox, Larry Jamerson, Matt Pearce, Peter Buckley, Peter Goldsworthy, Mary Fontes, and Willy Roberts, are leaving Puerto Montt, Chile, and are heading for the Straight of Magellan, then popping out in the Atlantic, and making a dash for Itajai.

“Stay safe, everyone, and thank you for everything! We’ll see you soon.”

Scallywag had won leg four to Hong Kong and finished second in leg six from Hong Kong to Auckland. Team Brunel edged Dongfeng Racing Team to win the gruelling leg seven to Itajai.