HONG KONG – Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean is coming to a dramatic conclusion, with Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag having finished first at its home port of Hong Kong. Minutes before Scallywag's finish, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, which had been in second place, reported it has collided with another vessel some 30 nautical miles from the finish line.
Since the collision Vestas has been seemingly adrift, making no progress toward the finish line according to the VOR Live Race Tracker. The latest update from VOR Race HQ:
Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a team competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, has been involved in a collision with another vessel approximately 30 miles from the finish line of Leg 4 in Hong Kong.
Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the incident by the team at approximately 17:39 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018.
All of the crew on Vestas 11th Hour Racing is reported to be safe. There is limited damage to the boat, which the team is still assessing. The team has not requested outside assistance.
There is no information at this time on the condition of the other vessel.
Race Control has contacted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre to inform them of the incident. Race Control has also informed the rest of the fleet of the incident.
We will have more information as it becomes available.
The collision occurred in the dark of Hong Kong's early Saturday morning, at approx 0140 local, in one of the busiest patches of water in the world clogged with commercial ships and fishing vessels.
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, which had to stop to rescue a man overboard last weekend, won this leg from Melbourne when it finished at 17:45:42 UTC Friday.
Minutes before Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag’s historic victory, Vestas 11th Hour Racing notified Race Control that it collided with another vessel. Race officials said in a statement that the crew is reported to be safe, with limited damage to the boat, but that the team is still assessing the situation and has requested no assistance.
AkzoNobel was some 70 nautical miles from port going 24 knots.
Skipper David Witt (AUS) and his crew on Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag won the leg after grabbing the lead with a bold tactical call out of the Doldrums last weekend.
“We had a bit of a plan and we stuck to it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and this time it worked for us,’’ Witt said.
After falling behind the fleet, Witt and navigator Libby Greenhalgh (GBR) made the decision to cut the corner, and turn to the west earlier than the opposition who kept pressing north in search of stronger winds.
Even when the team dropped several miles recovering a man overboard after Alex Gough (AUS) was swept off the boat by a wave, after executing a flawless recovery, Scallywag returned to racing and extended to nearly a 100-mile lead.
With the Leg 4 win, Scallywag picks up eight points (seven points for first place plus a one point win bonus). It will vault the team up to mid-fleet on the overall leaderboard.
Meanwhile, until the collision it had been looking like Vestas would finish second, keeping them in contention at the top of the leaderboard with Dongfeng and MAPFRE, which appeared headed for fifth on this leg – MAPFRE's worst finish of the four legs so far.
Congrats to Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag Skipper David Witt (AUS, center) and his team, including navigator Libby Greenhalgh (GBR) who is the first female navigator to win a VOR leg. Mr Witt is shown here dockside with the family of his Hong Kong-based team owner, Lee Seng Huang, shortly after finishing. Mr Lee grew up in Sydney, AUS and has been a fan of yacht racing since he watched the starts of the Sydney-Hobart as a youth. He currently owns and campaigns a maxi named SCALLYWAG.