Tragedy strikes Volvo Ocean Race
Published on January 19th, 2018
Hong Kong (January 20, 2018) – The Volvo Ocean Race can confirm Vestas 11th Hour Racing, one of the teams competing in the 2017-18 race, has been involved in a collision with a non-race vessel before the finish of Leg 4, near Hong Kong.
According to the tracker, Vestas was traveling at 20 knots in winds of 23 knots at the time of the incident. The team, which was 30 nm from the finish, has retired from Leg 4 and is proceeding to Hong Kong unassisted and under its own power.
Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018 (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).
The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) and undertook a search and rescue mission.
HKMRCC informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital. HKMRCC has since confirmed the death of the air-lifted crew member.
Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier, which was chasing Vestas in the final miles, was in a sober mood as they claimed second place. “Our first thought is that this is terrible news,” noted Caudrelier. “It is always very dangerous when sailing in these fishing areas when there are so many boats and some have no lights. Obviously this is very bad news for these fisherman, the Volvo Ocean Race and for Vestas.”
Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now focused on providing immediate support to those affected by this incident. All involved organisations are co-operating with the authorities and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation.
All of the crew on Vestas 11th Hour Racing are safe. Their boat suffered damage and the team has officially retired from the leg, but the team is able to motor to shore.
Beginning on January 2, Leg 4 was a 5,600 nautical mile race up the east coast of Australia from Melbourne, into the Coral Sea and up north to Hong Kong.
To see Leg 4 crew lists… click here.
Overall Results (after 3 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 29 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 23
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 14
5. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 11
6. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 9
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 6
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: Volvo Ocean Race