Volvo Ocean Race: A Race Against Time

Published on April 8th, 2015

When Dongfeng Race Team broke their mast 240 miles from Cape Horn on March 30, they went from competing for the overall lead of the Volvo Ocean Race to a race to remain competitive. After seeking support in Ushuaia, Argentina on March 31, they began the 2000 mile motor-sail on April 2 to the stopover port of Itajai, Brazil.

They reached the mid-point of the delivery on April 7, but it will be a tight schedule to ready the boat for the In-Port Race on April 18 and the Leg 6 start to Newport, USA on April 19. Southern Spars, the provider of masts for the Volvo Ocean 65, shares this update from director Mark Hauser:

“Southern Spars are sending our Volvo Ocean Race Service Manager Lance Manson to Itajai for arrival over the weekend. Lance will prepare the spare mast for Dongfeng with the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard crew and ensure that the team re-joins the race in time for the start of Leg 6. With the spare mast on the way, it will be the boats arrival in Itajai that could delay their progress. It is still unknown what caused the breakage of the top mast, however together with Dongfeng, the Boatyard and Lance, we will endeavor to find the problem and find a solution for the future.”

Moving 100-foot carbon tubes around the world comes with challenges, with planning needed to insure spare masts can be where they are needed. One spare has been stored in Auckland for the past few months, and is now on the way to meet the boats in Newport. The other spare mast is currently on a plane from Dubai to Amsterdam, continuing on to meet Dongfeng in Itajai.

After being defeated by Mother Nature, Dongfeng could now use an assist to improve their outlook.

“As we pushed on with the motor, we started to realise that if the wind doesn’t pick up soon we are more than likely going to have to make a pit stop in Punta del Este in Uruguay for more diesel,” explained Henry Woodhouse on Dongfeng. However, the sailing conditions have since improved and the team hopes to avoid the pit stop to improve their arrival time in Itajai.

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