FALKLAND ISLANDS – As we reported earlier today (Friday), Vestas 11th Hour Racing was dismasted about 100 miles southeast of the Falkland Islands when the team was in second place on Leg 7 from Auckland, NZL to Itajaí, BRA. Thank goodness no one was injured, but they had to cut away the mast to prevent further damage to the hull. The team is now under power heading to the Falklands re-group with their shore team.
Vestas' PR rep, Kate Wilson (USA), kindly forwarded the accompanying photo taken by Vestas OBR Jeremie Lecaudey, and an audio interview (transcripted below) from aboard the yacht with members of the crew:
Simon Fisher (GBR): Yea. We were reaching at about 75 True Wind Angle in about 30 knots of breeze. I was driving at the time. Then there was a big bang and the rig broke just above the first spreader. It was quite a bang. All of the instruments jumped out of the bracket, the radar exploded, the camera in the front of the rig exploded. The top
of the mast landed in the water with the stump sticking up. Since then, we have made sure we look after the boat, protect the integrity of the hull, we have had to cut everything away. And that is all away safely. Glad to say everyone is safe. Everyone is healthy, no one was injured in the rig coming down, and the boat seems to be good. So now we are just getting everything squared away and we are going to start motoring towards the Falklands.
Charlie Enright (USA): I was in my bunk. We healed over the wrong way pretty violently. There was a pretty big bang. Immediately in my head, I kinda known what had happened. Bombing along at 30 knots, double head reaching next to DongFeng. That was one second, then the next second we weren't. Everyone stayed calm, cool, and collected and we were able to get that thing over the side. That was the diciest part. But now we are about 100 miles from the Falklands so we will motor to there and re-assess.
Tony Mutter (NZL): This is my third rig down in 6 races. Lost the rig with ACB in the 01-02 race at Point Neptune about as far away from land as you can get. That was not a very nice experience. Then with Puma in the 11-12 race. Dropped the rig in the first leg. Ended up on an island, Tristan de Cahuna, in the South Atlantic. Now we are going to be in South Atlantic again in a place called the Falklands. Don't know what to say. Unbelievable.
Stacey Jackson (AUS): It's a challenge. The whole thing is a challenge. Whether you are racing the weather or the elements or the setbacks like this. I think they just tells the story that this race about is about overcoming the difficulties. We can't really overcome this one now but we can make a plan to go forward and try our hardest to keep in the race.
No video, but photos with audio of the interviews transcripted above.