Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Volvo Ocean Race: son of missing sailor John Fisher joins Hong Kong’s Scallywag crew for final event

Ryan Fisher takes part in the Brunel in-port race as a tribute to his father, who was lost at sea in March

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 July, 2018, 3:42pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 July, 2018, 11:02pm

Ryan Fisher, the 20-year-old son of missing sailor John Fisher, was a special guest aboard Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag for its final in-port event of the Volvo Ocean Race, marking the end of the nine-month, around-the-world race.

John Fisher was lost at sea in late March after falling overboard about 1,400 miles from Cape Horn in leg six from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai in Brazil.

“Onboard the SHKS VO65 is a very special guest who will be sailing in tribute, memory, honour and respect for our sadly departed friend,” Scallywag tweeted. “Ryan Fisher, John Fisher’s son, will be participating in the Volvo Ocean Race’s Brunel In-Port Race.”

John Fisher was a beloved member of the Scallywag crew and a close friend of skipper David Witt. His loss was grieved by all in the sailing and Volvo Ocean Race community, particularly his wife Kirsten, Ryan, daughter Amy and other family members.

‘To say I feel responsible is an understatement’: Skipper of Hong Kong’s Scallywag David Witt talks about death of John Fisher

In the race, Scallywag finished seventh out of seven boats to end up last in the overall standings, with Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic sneaking ahead of the Hong Kong boat thanks to a better in-port record.

The day started with Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic with equal points at 32 in the overall race leader board in the Netherlands, with Scallyag ahead by three points in the in-port standings.

A lot of things would have needed to go right for Caffari, and incredibly, it all came to pass. It didn’t look good early when Turn the Tide on Plastic was penalised for not keeping clear of Team AkzoNobel on a close cross. But at the next mark rounding, Scallywag hooked on to the mark, and was stopped while the rest of the fleet sailed past.

Eventually they freed themselves from the mark, but by then they were well behind and running out of time to catch up.

Missing sailor John Fisher ‘likely unconscious’ before he hit the water: Crew of Hong Kong-owned boat release timeline of events

The last place result for Scallywag, combined with a hard-fought fourth place finish for Turn the Tide on Plastic, means Dee Caffari’s team sit in sixth place for the first time in the race.

“We had a good race, we even took a penalty today. But we had very good boat speed, made some good calls, and thankfully there were a couple of boats between us and Scallywag,” an overjoyed Caffari said.

“It’s the best way to finish the campaign for us. We’ll all go away knowing we made some good finishes and were able to come back. People didn’t know if we could do it, but we have, and it’s just rounded it all off to finish like this.”

That wasn’t the only scoreboard move on Saturday. Hometown hero Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel had a perfect start and led the race from beginning to end.

Scallywag sailor John Fisher missing: search operations under way after man overboard incident on Hong Kong boat

Spain’s Mapfre won the in-port series with 64 points ahead of China’s Dongfeng on 56. They were followed by Team Brunel (50), Team AkzoNobel (50), Vestas 11th Hour Racing (35), Turn the Tide on Plastic (25) and Scallywag (25).

Dongfeng won the overall title ahead of Mapfre, Brunel, AkzoNobel, Vestas, Plastic and Scallywag.

Additional reporting by Peter Rusch