The Volvo Ocean Race's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Knut Frostad, issued a statement on Wednesday expressing his concern at the continuing instances of boats suffering serious damage in the 2011-12 edition.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s yacht Azzam, skippered by Britain’s Ian Walker, returns to Alicante, Spain after the mast broke in rough weather on the first day of racing on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race
Frostad, who competed in the race four times himself, said it was not acceptable to have so many incidents of boats failing in a Volvo Ocean Race. Frostad said race organisers would continue to do everything possible to get the boats not currently sailing back in the race as soon as possible.
Text of statement, which was released after Groupama sailing team announced they had suffered a broken mast, leaving only two boats currently racing in Leg 5 from Auckland in New Zealand to Itajaí in Brazil:
'It's too early to conclude exactly why this has happened but we are obviously concerned about seeing so many incidents of damage to our boats both in this leg and in the race as a whole.
'It is not acceptable that in a race like this we have so many failures. It is not unusual for boats to suffer problems, and sailors and shore teams are used to having to deal with some issues with their boats, but this has been on a bigger scale than in the past.
'It's important that we don't leap to any conclusions about why these breakages have happened. Some of them are clearly not related. However, we will take the current issues into account as we make decisions on rules and technology we will be using in the future.
'We have already put in a lot of work, discussing with teams, designers and all other stakeholders about the boats and the rules we will use in the future, and we expect to be in a position to announce a decision on that before the end of the current race.
'For the time being, our focus continues to be on the safety of the sailors. We are doing everything we can to help Groupama, and the rest of the teams not currently sailing, get back in the race as soon as possible.'
Volvo Ocean Race website