Volvo Ocean Race: Vestas ready to return

Published on March 2nd, 2018

Auckland, New Zealand (March 2, 2018) – Vestas 11th Hour Racing, which has been sidelined since their collision near the finish of the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, has confirmed they will return for Leg 7 from New Zealand, across the Southern Ocean, past Cape Horn and into Brazil.

Just after 0100 hours on the morning of January 20 (local Hong Kong time), Vestas was involved in a collision with a fishing vessel. Shortly after the accident, ten Chinese fishermen were rescued, though one did not survive. After nearly six weeks of silence, team co-founders Mark Towill and Charlie Enright now reveal details of the incident.

Towill was skipper on Leg 4 because Enright had to sit out due to a family crisis. During Leg 3, from South Africa to Australia, Enright’s 2-year-old son had been admitted to the hospital with a case of bacterial pneumonia. “There comes a point when family is more important than the job you’ve been hired to do and I was at that point,” said Enright. “I did what was best for my family.”

Immediately before the end of Leg 4, Enright traveled to Hong Kong to greet the crew at the finish line, but instead had to play an active role in the crisis management process from the shore.

“I have been asked if it would have been different if I was onboard. Definitely not,” said Enright. “The crew has been well trained in crisis situations and performed as they should. They knew what to do and I think they did a phenomenal job given the circumstances. The team was engaged in search and rescue for more than two hours with a compromised race boat.”

“I’m very proud of our crew,” added Towill. “We were in a very difficult situation with the damage to the bow, but everyone acted professionally and without hesitation.”

Despite the badly damaged bow, Towill and the crew carried out a search and rescue effort, which culminated in a casualty being retrieved and transferred to a helicopter, with the assistance of Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

For additional details of the accident… click here.

The team’s VO65 was shipped to New Zealand from Hong Kong on January 28. A new port bow section was laid up over a VO65 hull mold at Persico Marine in Italy and then sent to New Zealand, where it was spliced to the hull of the team’s VO65 in the past two weeks.

The team hopes to relaunch their VO65 in the coming days and will then spend some time practicing and possibly complete an overnight sail. Leg 7 is scheduled to begin March 18. Prior to that the New Zealand In-Port Race is scheduled March 10.

Leg Distance: The race organizers choose to estimate the tactical distance for each leg rather than list the actual distance, a fallacy that’s uncovered once the race starts and the tracker lists the actual distance to finish. The VOR says Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajaí, BRA is 7600 nm whereas the truth is more like 6700 nm.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Overall Results (after 6 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 39 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 34
3. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 26
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 23
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
6. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 20
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 12

2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)

Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.

Source: Vestas 11th Hour Racing

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