Team Vestas Wind is ‘exploring the opportunity’ of re-entering the Volvo Ocean Race with a new boat just over a week after their Volvo Ocean 65 ran into a reef in the Indian Ocean.
With their crew now safely on land, attention has turned to retrieving the stricken vessel, grounded on the Cargados Carajos Shoals (St Brandon), some 260 miles north east of Mauritius – and whether the Danish team will return to the race.
“It is Vestas’ clear ambition to get Team Vestas Wind out sailing again,” said the sailing team’s CEO Morten Albaek, at a press call in Abu Dhabi on 8th December. “We’ll do everything within our means to make that happen.
“That said, the assessment from all parties is that the boat can’t be repaired, and therefore one of the options we’re looking into is building a new boat,” added Albaek, who is also title sponsors Vestas’ Chief Marketing Officer.
“Whether that can be done, and done in a time which is meaningful for Team Vestas Wind to re-enter the race, is still to be concluded. There are seven legs remaining in the race, but clearly the next leg would be impossible as it begins on January 3rd. Build time is unclear as we write this, but it seems that it is a serious consideration, we will keep you posted !
Skipper Chris Nicholson (AUS), who led his crew in an early hours evacuation from the boat on November 29, and on to the remote island of Ile du Sud, where they remained for the next 48 hours before hitching a ride to Mauritius on a local fishing boat, echoed those hopes. Seamounts
“Prior to the crash in the preceding 48 hours, Wouter and I in regard to our normal duties of looking where the boat was going with the routing, noticed that there would be some seamounts. When I saw those I asked what the depths and the currents and the wave conditions would be.
“Wouter’s reply was that the depths went from 3000m to 40m, (which) were the extremes of the depths, the current was negligible and we would monitor the wave state as we approached…” Team Vestas Wind navigator Wouter Verbraak (NED) explained the reason for the accident to the media:
“In hindsight we would’ve continued to zoom in on the area much more, on the electronic charts. Not doing so is the big mistake that I made, but the good thing is that we didn’t make any more.”