San Francisco-bound British sailor praises mates after ocean rescue 

Halfway between China and San Francisco, British sailor Andrew Taylor suddenly found himself floating alone in the cold, rough North Pacific.

One moment he’d been helping to change a sail aboard the 70-foot yacht Derry-Londonderry-Doire, and the next he’d fallen overboard, smashed into the rudder and was being swept away in big waves and strong wind.

For a while he was within sight of the sloop, which is competing in The Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race.

Then he wasn’t.

“I never contemplated I would die. I did consider whether the boat would find me,” the 46-year-old Taylor told The Associated Press in an interview from the boat via satellite phone on Thursday.

About one hour, 40 minutes after falling into the 52-degree water just past the International Date Line on Monday, Taylor was pulled out by his crewmates. He was treated for hypothermia and his leg was put in a splint. He’ll have X-rays after the boat arrives in San Francisco on either April 11 or 12.

Taylor, a catering manager from London, said he never panicked and never gave up hope of being rescued because he knew his fellow crew members were well-trained for a man-overboard emergency.

“I just want to express my gratitude to the team for their work and effort,” said Taylor, who had never set foot aboard a boat before he began training for this race in 2012. “It was a traumatic experience for everyone, for the crew as well as for me in the water.”

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, founded the Clipper Race to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to experience ocean racing. Every crew member has to complete a rigorous training plan.

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