When it comes to bluewater sailracing, the Volvo Ocean Race is not for the fainthearted.
Charging 38,739 nautical miles around the globe in a fleet of identical Volvo Ocean 65 one-design yachts built just for sailing fast and pushed to their physical limits comes with inherent risks.
The Dongfeng Race Team was dismasted early Monday when the mast broke above the third spreader (the top section of the mast). Imagine dealing with this mess 240 miles offshore in the middle of the night in 30 knots of wind.
Fortunately no one has been injured and there is no immediate danger to the crew.
“I’m gutted,” said a disappointed skipper Charles Caudrelier, who was reached via Inmarsat. “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 toward Ushuaia [Argentina] and assess our options for getting to [the next designated port in] Itajaí [Brazil]."
“We have [13 to 15 feet] of the mast flying over our heads just holding on by one halyard and the big fractional sail, the one we had up, which is flying around to leeward,” crewman Damian Foxall said.