PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, skipper Ken Read during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Cape Town stopover.
It was not the way Ken Read had imagined stepping off Puma's Mar Mostro and on to shore at Cape Town but after 31 days away the American could still savour a heartfelt moment with wife Kathy before putting the next phase of the recovery plan into place.
Puma Ocean Racing, who set off from Alicante with the rest of the fleet back on November 5, made it into the Cape Town port late on Tuesday night.
The boat was lifted down from Team Bremen, the container ship sent to pick them up, and the team motored her round to the shore base at around 1am for a raucous welcome from friends and well-wishers, whooping and cheering and wearing 'The Show Mast Go On' T-shirts, and more tender moments with family.
The hard work for the shore crew starts now, with less than four days to go to get the boat, which lost her rig on November 21, back in condition to take part in the In-Port Race in Cape Town on Saturday.
'When we left Alicante did we think we were going to come in on a ship tonight? No. But the guys have done an amazing job to get us this far -- everyone has -- and we're very thankful for that,' said Read.
'The boat's going to be out of the water in less than an hour and the shore team will be working all night. The goal is to be back in the water by noon tomorrow and maybe go sailing tomorrow afternoon, so there's not a lot of rest for the weary. But that's what we signed up for and that's what we're going to do.'
For much of the leg Puma were challenging for the lead with Team Telefónica only to dismast while in the South Atlantic.
They were left with no choice but to point their boat in the direction of Tristan da Cunha and hope for the best. Thanks to some diesel borrowed from a nearby ship that diverted to help them, they made it to the world's most remote human settlement and spent several days enjoying the volcanic island's hospitality -- in large part lobsters and beer -- before Team Bremen could come for her.
They managed to get the boat loaded on board on Friday and worked on it during the journey back to Cape Town but there is still plenty more to be done and the shore crew got to work as soon as the sailors were on land.