Team Sanya during leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Cape Town, South Africa to Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Team Sanya suffered damage to part of their rigging early on Monday and are heading to a port in southern Madagascar in order to assess the damage and make a repair plan. No one has been injured and the crew are all safe.
Sanya noticed the damage to one of the stays on the mast during a sail change on Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi and contacted Race Management.
The boat is fully under control with the mast still upright and is still able to sail to shore. A very distraught skipper, Mike Sanderson revealed in a video interview, that the D2 had broken, and that fortunately it had been noticed before the yacht tacked which would have surely resulted in her dismasting.
Skipper and team CEO Mike Sanderson said he was 'gutted', with the incident occurring when the team was in the lead.
'We were just out of the major breeze and changing sails from the J4 to the fractional zero and were in wind speeds of around 12-14 knots when we noticed a vital piece of rigging loose from the mast (D2),' said Sanderson.
'We had had an awesome night’s racing and were totally hauling and making massive gains so we were very upbeat with our progress.
'The weather was turning for the better and so we were happy in our decisions and general progress. We had been due to tack an hour earlier in the darkness but had delayed that given the conditions and for sure if we had done that, the rig would have fallen over the side.
'As you can imagine we are totally gutted and can’t quite believe this has happened when everything was going so well.'
A spokesman for Dryad Maritime Intelligence Service said the port is not considered to be at high risk from piracy.
The mast incident is the second racing incident for Team Sanya, which suffered a split hull on the first night of Leg 1, forcing her withdrawal from that leg, and subsequent shipping to South Africa for a new hull section to be fitted.
According to course projections run by Sail-World using a a virtual finish point for the leg on the southern Indian coast, all boats are very even in terms of finish time and distance to sail, including Team Sanya from her last racing position.
Currently Team Sanya is believed to be sailing in 17kt winds towards Madagascar. It is not known how her diversion will affect plans to load all yachts aboard a secure ship, south of India for passage to the next stopover at Abu Dhabi. A move made necessary to avoid the threat posed by Somali pirates working in international waters.