Volvo Ocean Race can confirm that Dongfeng Race Team broke its mast early on Monday (GMT, March 30) but fortunately nobody has been injured and there is no immediate danger to the crew (full story below).
Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team / Volvo Ocean Race
ALVI 0 0 2087.3 23
ADOR 6.9 1 2094.2 24
TBRU 10.3 1 2097.6 23
MAPF 10.9 3 2098.2 22
DFRT 74.5 49 2161.8 7
SCA1 505.5 30 2592.8 14
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The incident happened 240 nautical miles west of Cape Horn at 0315 UTC on Monday, in the final hours of the night onboard Dongfeng.
The crew reported that the mast broke above the third spreader, the top section of the mast. They are not planning to continue racing on this leg and are heading towards Ushuaia, Argentina, under their own sail.
Reached via Inmarsat, a disappointed skipper Charles Caudrelier said: “I’m gutted. As you’ve seen from the position reports we have been, on purpose, backing off a bit, not attacking in any way.
“The mast broke without warning, in about 30 knots of wind. We are unable to sail safely on starboard tack, but we are able to make reasonable speed on port tack. We will head towards Ushuaia and assess our options for getting to Itajaí.”
The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is aware of the situation and is on standby to help if necessary.
We are in constant contact with Caudrelier and are establishing the full extent of the damage to ensure we give him the support he needs to deal with the situation.
We will give more information as it becomes available.
This edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is the 12th running of the 40-year-old event, which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
The race started on October 4, 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain, and will finish with one last In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.
The 38,739-nautical mile route will include stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Newport (Rhode Island, US), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France). A 24-hour pit-stop in The Hague is scheduled between France and Sweden.
This and the next edition will be contested in a new high-performance boat, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland.
The new 65-foot (19.8-metre) monohull racing yachts will be strictly one-design and delivered “ready to sail”. The boats incorporate the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the Onboard Reporter programme that has been in place since 2008-09.
Seven teams have been announced for the 12th edition. The all-female Team SCA are the first all-women’s team to compete in the race since 2001-02. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are once again skippered by Britain’s twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker. Dongfeng Race Team come from China and are backed by Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle. Team Brunel from the Netherlands are skippered by race veteran Bouwe Bekking. Team Alvimedica with a double flag (Turkey/USA) will be headed by Rhode Island’s Charlie Enright. A Spanish team was announced in June and is backed by insurance giant MAPFRE. Denmark’s Team Vestas was the final boat to be announced in August. Chris Nicholson will be skipper.
The previous Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas, in July 2012.