26 December 2014

Volvo Ocean Race boat set free from reef

Safely onboard
Team Vestas Wind's stranded Volvo Ocean 65 boat has been retrieved from the remote reef in the Indian Ocean and last Monday was heading on a round-trip via Mauritius and Malaysia back to Europe.

After three days' planning, the Volvo Ocean Race boat was gingerly floated clear of the reef in St Brandon on Sunday evening, where it had laid since 29 November, and on to a nearby lagoon. From there it was lifted on to a waiting Maersk Line ship to complete the delicate first stage of an operation which could yet see the boat being reconstructed.

 The boat's shore manager as well as its skipper Chris Nicholson (AUS) oversaw the complicated process of extracting it from the rock where it was trapped. Nicholson had led his crew to safety just over three weeks ago after the boat ran aground on the reef, 430 kms from Mauritius and in the middle of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi.

The ten-strong workforce had stood knee deep in water with waves hitting them all day and carried oxygen bottles for those involved in cutting the keel off, helping to re-anchor the boat which otherwise would start moving across the reef.

The boat will be checked out fully in Malaysia before heading to Europe, possible Italy, for a rebuild.