Late in the afternoon on January 6, 2018, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet was charging northward at more than 15 knots across the Coral Sea, sailing a leg of the race from Melbourne, Australia, to Hong Kong. The Volvo Ocean 65s were many miles from the nearest port. SHK Scallywag, in last place on the position reports, was crossing over the vast Lansdowne Bank. On the north end of the bank, there is an area called Nereus Reef, where the water depth is only 12 feet deep in some places. Scallywag drew just over 15 feet. Every boat in the fleet was being tracked electronically, and Rick Tomlinson, the official observer on duty in the event's race-control office, was monitoring their tracks. According to the international jury serving as the protest committee for the race, Tomlinson was "an employee of Volvo Ocean Race who, as a member of race control, has a responsibility for the safety of all competitors."