Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Volvo Ocean Race crew run aground, abandon vessel


A Volvo Ocean Race handout photograph shows Danish Team Vestas Wind aground on the reef in Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Nine crewmen from Team Vestas Wind were rescued yesterday after abandoning their 65-foot sloop that ran aground on a reef off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean during the Volvo Ocean Race.

The sailors were picked up by a local coast guard for transportation to the remote Ile du Sud, where there is a house and some facilities, race officials said. There were no injuries.

Danish-backed Team Vestas Wind was making plans with race officials on how to salvage the sloop.

“I’m extremely relieved that every one of the nine crew members now are safe and that nobody is injured,” race CEO Knut Frostad said in a statement. “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,” Frostad said.

The drama started on Saturday when the sloop ran aground on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, about 1350km east of Madagascar.

Just before dawn yesterday, the nine sailors abandoned the sloop and moved to two life rafts anchored to a dry section of the reef.

They were rescued by a local coast guard after daylight.

Team Vestas Wind reported that both its rudders were broken and that the stern of its boat was being beaten on rocks.

Team Vestas Wind is skippered by Nicholson, an Australian who has had two runner-up finishes in the Volvo Ocean Race, with PUMA Ocean Racing in 2009 and CAMPER in 2012.

There was no immediate word on what caused the accident or the weather conditions at the time.

Team Vestas Wind was in fifth place on the second leg, from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, when the accident happened.

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