The Crew of ABN AMRO TWO Receives the 2006 Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship

Press Release (January 16, 2007) (PDF)

The crew of ABN AMRO TWO was selected by the Cruising Club of America to receive the 2006 Rod Stephens Trophy for Seamanship for skillfully carrying out the nighttime recovery of an overboard crewmember during the Volvo Ocean Race.  The trophy was presented at the Club's annual Awards Dinner in New York on January 16, 2007.  Making the presentation of the award to ABN AMRO TWO was Commodore Edward S. Rowland. Accepting the award on behalf of the entire crew was ABN AMRO TWO skipper Seb Josse.

While ultimately unsuccessful in saving the life of their fellow crew member, Hans Horrevoets, the crew located his body by acting quickly, following good, previously rehearsed procedures and using excellent judgment in carrying out search tactics.  Following the recovery of the victim, strenuous and well-advised efforts were made, but the crew ultimately was not able to save him. (Photo Credit: Jon Nash)

The accident occurred at night on May 18, 2006 in the North Atlantic while sailing downwind in 30 knots of wind in rough conditions.  When the boat nosedived down a wave, water washed back over the deck and Horrevoets was carried overboard.  He had not yet clipped himself into the boat's harness tethering system, and he was not wearing a lifejacket.  Just 30 minutes earlier, the captain had ordered the crew to wear harnesses for the remainder of the trip, and at the time of the accident the other members of the crew were wearing their gear.

Immediately after ”Man Overboard” was hailed, the MOB (man overboard) button on the GPS and navigation software was activated, the dan buoy was deployed along with a lighted life ring, smoke flare and other torches in the cockpit.   The spinnaker was quickly dropped, the staysail furled, and the engine started.  By the time the boat was able to reverse course, the MOB position was 1.6 miles away.  The mainsail also was dropped when it was found that they could not sail directly to the MOB position.  The life ring, flare and dan buoy were spotted and had the positions plotted.  Horrevoets was first sighted four minutes after the accident.  His strobe was flashing, but he was lying face down in the water and very difficult to see.   (Photo credit: Jon Nash)

One of the crew, in a diver's dry suit, helped to get the crewmember back on board over the transom.  He was taken below, and when no pulse was found, CPR was initiated.  A hospital in England was in contact with the crew and its staff advised them to administer adrenaline and continue CPR for a further 20 minutes.  He could not be revived.   

The crew of ABN AMRO TWO included Seb Josse (skipper), Simon Fisher (navigator), Scott Beavis, Nick Bice, Lucas Brun, Andrew Lewis, Luke Molloy, George Peet and Simeon Tienpont.

Year Awarded

2006