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Volvo OR: Update on Vestas 11th Hour dismasting

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 30 Mar 2018 16:30 PDT 31 March 2018
Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai, day 14 on board Vestas 11th Hour. 30 March, . Mast Accident - 3 © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race

As previously reported Vestas 11th Hour Racing dismasted earlier today 100nm from the Falkland Islands.

The Volvo 65 is now motoring to the Falklands, where a decision will be made on the next course of action.

The team has provided more information on the situation.

"We were reaching at about 75 True Wind Angle in about 30 knots of breeze", explains navigator Simon Fisher. "I was driving at the time. Then there was a big bang and the rig broke just above the first spreader. It was quite a bang. All of the instruments jumped out of the bracket, the radar exploded, the camera in the front of the rig exploded.

"The top of the mast landed in the water with the stump sticking up. Since then, we have made sure we look after the boat, protect the integrity of the hull, we have had to cut everything away. And that is all away safely. Glad to say everyone is safe. Everyone is healthy, no one was injured in the rig coming down, and the boat seems to be good. So now we are just getting everything squared away and we are going to start motoring towards the Falklands".

"I was in my bunk," said co-skipper Charlie Enright (USA). "We healed over the wrong way pretty violently. There was a pretty big bang. Immediately in my head, I kinda known what had happened. Bombing along at 30 knots, double head reaching next to DongFeng.

"That was one second, then the next second we weren't. Everyone stayed calm, cool, and collected and we were able to get that thing over the side. That was the diciest part. But now we are about 100 miles from the Falklands so we will motor to there and re-assess".

The dismasting was an all too familar experience for Tony Mutter (NZL). "This is my third rig down in six races. Lost the rig with ACB in the 01-02 race at Point [Nemo] about as far away from land as you can get. That was not a very nice experience. Then with Puma in the 11-12 race, we dropped the rig in the first leg, and ended up on an island, Tristan de Cahuna, in the South Atlantic.

"Now we are going to be in South Atlantic again in a place called the Falklands," he added.

"Don't know what to say. Unbelievable."

Stacey Jackson (AUS) had a more philosophical view of the incident: "It's a challenge. The whole thing is a challenge. Whether you are racing the weather or the elements or the setbacks like this. I think they just tells the story that this race about is about overcoming the difficulties. We can't really overcome this one now but we can make a plan to go forward and try our hardest to keep in the race."

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