John Fisher: A true Scallywag
Published on March 27th, 2018
While on the ninth day of the Volvo Ocean Race leg from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajaí, Brazil, a man overboard incident on skipper David Witt’s Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag has resulted in crew member John Fisher being lost at sea.
Lee Seng Huang and Sun Hung Kai & Co, owner and sponsor of the Scallywag team, comments on the recent tragedy.
We are devastated by the news involving our crew member, John Fisher, following a man overboard incident early on March 26 afternoon UTC.
Witty and the Scallywag crew have been battling extremely treacherous conditions in the Southern Ocean and this tragedy is heart breaking.
The crew did everything they could to recover John, leading an extensive search and rescue operation in stormy conditions. Now, with the forecast worsening and night falling, the team has made the difficult decision to head for landfall, 1,200 nautical miles away in South America.
Over our long passages, I have come to know Fish well. Despite the dangers of the sport he loved his sailing. He is one of our own, a long-standing member of the team. He is a great and experienced sailor, the finest human being and a true Scallywag.
Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s family and the crew at this most difficult time, and we are working with Volvo Ocean Race to provide all the support we can. Our focus now, is getting the boat and crew to a safe harbour.
Scallywag was the fifth entry to the 2017-18 edition, with the campaign backed by Seng Huang Lee and Sun Hung Kai & Co., the Hong Kong-based owner of supermaxi yacht Scallywag.
Mr Lee grew up in Sydney, Australia, a stone’s throw from the start line of the iconic Sydney to Hobart Race – and it was watching the fleet leave every year for the start of the race that first got him hooked on sailing.
He purchased the 100-foot yacht Scallywag, previously known as Ragamuffin, in 2016, of which Australian sailor David Witt had been the skipper.
For the 2017-18 race, Witt was returning following a 20-year absence after competing in 1997-98 race onboard Innovation Kvaerner – the boat led by former Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad.
• Date of birth: 16 September 1970
• In: Southampton, United Kingdom
• Nationality. British
• Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
• In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland
• Something about him that you don’t know: John is from England’s south coast but now lives in Adelaide, Australia.
• Who he is: A long-term member of the Ragamuffin and Scallywag super maxi crews, Fisher has plenty of big boat experience and has sailed with skipper David Witt for many years. A Sydney-Hobart veteran, he makes the step into the Volvo Ocean Race world for the first time in 2017-18.
COURSE: Starting on March 18, Leg 7 takes the teams from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajaí, Brazil. Race organizers choose to estimate the tactical distance for each leg rather than list the actual distance, an unusual decision that’s revealed once the race starts and the tracker lists the actual distance to finish. The VOR says Leg 7 is 7600 nm whereas the truth is more like 6623 nm with an ETA in Itajaí between April 4 and 6.
For crew lists … click here.
2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
• Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
• Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
• MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
• Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
• Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
• Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
• Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)
Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.
Source: Volvo Ocean Race