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Triumph and tragedy

MAY 23 While Mike Sanderson’s ABN Amro One crossed the finish line in Portsmouth (England) Harbor Saturday during Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race, movistar skipper Bouwe Bekking and his crew abandoned their yacht 300 miles off Lands End, England.

“The hardest decision I have ever taken in my life, was the call to abandon ship,” Bekking says in a statement. Bekking’s crew discovered that the aft end of its keel pivot bearing broke away from the hull, news reports say. The yacht began taking on water and, with 40- to 50-knot winds forecasted, Bekking and his 10-person crew were transferred on life rafts to ABN Amro Two, skippered by Sebastien Josse. ABN Amro Two retired from the race Thursday after a helmsman/trimmer was washed overboard in bad weather and died.

“This morning we jibed over to check how the keel would cope with that angle. Straight away we saw that the water intake nearly doubled and had to start the second emergency pump,” Bekking says in the statement. “That made me realize that we were actually in way bigger trouble.”

Team ABN Amro One finished Leg 7 in 9 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes, 42 seconds, according to reports.

—Jason Fell