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Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind Abandoned on Reef After Grounding

02 Dec 2014

Update: Team Vestas Wind’s VOR 65 Aground [PHOTO]

UPDATE: 0300 UTC 30 Nov

Volvo Ocean Race Control has had it confirmed that the Team Vestas Wind crew has now been rescued and will stay on the Íle du Sud, where there is a house and some facilities. All the crew is safe and nobody is injured.

Team Vestas Wind is making plans with Volvo Ocean Race on how to transport the crew off the island as well as how to salvage the boat.

Team Alvimedica has now been released and will continue racing towards Abu Dhabi.

Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “I’m extremely relieved that every one of the nine crew members now are safe and that nobody is injured. That has always been our first priority since we first learned about the grounding.

“At the same time, I’m deeply saddened that this happened to Team Vestas Wind and Chris Nicholson and his team. It’s devastating for the team, for the race and for everyone involved. I really feel for Chris and the team right now and we will continue to support them all the way going forward.”

Earlier:

At 1510 UTC, Team Vestas Wind, a 65-foot sailing yacht racing in the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) grounded on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean and has been abandoned according to race organizers.

A press release by the Volvo Ocean Race notes two life rafts have been deployed while the stern “was being beaten on rocks of the reef.”

The bow is pointing out to sea, however both rudders are broken. The mast remains upright and the bow of the vessel remains above the water, however, “the current plan remains to abandon the boat at daylight with the assistance of the coastguard at Íle du Sud as well as Team Alvimedica,” according to race organizers.

Charles Caudrelier, skipper of Team Dongfeng notes in comment,

“We are offshore in the middle of nowhere, and on the chart, if you don’t go on the maximum zoom you can’t see anything.”

The Volvo Ocean Race skippers are relying on electronic charts to make their way around the world and in this case, the limitations of such charts appear to have let them down.

“When I was looking at the navigation a few days ago, checking these things, it took a long time for me to find them,” adds Caudrelier.

His team narrowly missed the rocks thanks to a last-minute gybe.

Team Alvimedica is anchored on site and is awaiting daylight before providing more direct assistance. The situation is, however stable and there have been no injuries.

VOR CEO Knut Frostad commented on the situation,

“It’s complicated – but everything’s stable, and under control.

“I think the challenge with the current situation is that, first of all, it’s in a very remote part of the planet, far away from ships, ports and services,” he adds.

“The closest large civilisation is in Mauritius which is more than 200 nm from this location.”

 The coast guard station at Isle de Sud, approximately 1.5 km from the boat has been contacted and has a RHIB available.
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