One of the seven Open 65 yachts competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, which the sailracing community considers one of the toughest endurance events on the planet, is out of the race.
The nine-man crew of Team Vestas Wind was rescued early Sunday morning after the Danish team's 65-foot boat ran hard aground on a reef in the Indian Ocean.
For several hours, the crew stayed aboard. The boat was stuck fast in the reef with the bow facing the ocean as waves battered the stern. They eventually abandoned ship in the shallow waters and waded ashore to await rescue.
Hear skipper Chris Nicholson’s explanation of the situation to a race official in this video.
Both rudders were broken in the collision and the stern began to take on water.
About midnight, led by the Australian skipper, the team abandoned the boat and waded knee-deep through the sea to a dry spot on the reef. There they were rescued by a coastguard RIB at daybreak.
The Danish team’s concern now will be a salvage mission for their boat, but it was not immediately clear how much damage the grounding had caused or exactly why they had hit the reef
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker was quoted in Scuttlebutt Sailing News as saying. “When we went past there we actually said how easy it would be to hit it at night. Fortunately we went through there in the daylight. It is very difficult to see it with the electronic charts, and of course at night you wouldn’t see it at all.”?