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British yachtsman, John Fisher, presumed lost at sea

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British yachtsman, John Fisher, presumed lost at sea

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A member of the British Volvo Ocean Race crew, who fell overboard in the Southern Ocean, is presumed lost at sea.

John Fisher, 47, had been competing with Hong Kong entry Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag on the stretch from Auckland to Brazil and was reported missing in extremely rough seas.

Organisers say they're devastated: "After several hours of searching the crew of Scallywag decided to abandon their search operation," said President of the Volvo Ocean Race, Richard Bresis.

"And this is of course terribly sad moment for all of us and first and foremost our thoughts are with John Fisher's family and with crew members aboard Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag."

The yacht was some 2,600 kilometres west of Cape Horn, and 2,200 kilometres from the nearest safe landfall in South America.

Fisher was born in Southampton but based in Adelaide.

This year's Volvo Ocean Race is the longest since the competition began more than 40 years ago. It takes eight months to complete and covers 83,000 kilometres.

It is due to end in late June in The Hague, Netherlands.