Vestas 11th Hour Racing has undertaken steps to repair their Volvo Ocean 65 yacht, which was involved in a collision with a non-racing vessel at the end of Leg 4 near Hong Kong.
The time required for repairs means the team will not be rejoining the race in time for Leg 6 from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand. The shore crew has loaded the yacht onto a freight vessel in Hong Kong for transportation to Auckland.
“Along with our colleagues in the Volvo Ocean Race and the other competing teams, we have all offered our sincere condolences to all those affected by the incident,” said Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-founder, Mark Towill. “Now with a seriously damaged boat and a new set of challenges to surmount, we have had to map out the necessary steps that will enable our team to get back in the race.”
“Thanks to the ongoing support and collaboration of our partners, the Volvo Ocean Race, and our entire team, we were able to gather a team of experts to assess our options to continue the race”, added co-founder, Charlie Enright.
The challenge of the damage, the exacting standards set by the Volvo Ocean 65 One Design rule, and the timing of the race provided limited choices, and it was concluded that the repair could not be carried out in Hong Kong. The only viable option was to ship the boat and equipment to New Zealand ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and carry out the necessary repairs there. This includes having a new bow section built at Persico Marine in Italy, in compliance with the Volvo Ocean 65 class rule, which will then be shipped to New Zealand.
The team aims to have repairs completed during the stopover in Auckland, in time for inshore racing and the start of Leg 7 to Itajaí, Brazil, which is scheduled for March 18.
The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team will regroup in Auckland to monitor the boat repairs and commence training on and off the water ahead of Leg 7.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing will continue to provide updates as they become available.