Archivio della categoria Volvo Ocean Race

Update: Vestas 11th Hour Racing collision


Phil Lawrence, Race Director for the Volvo Ocean Race, gives an update on the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non-racing vessel overnight on Friday.

Phil, what do we know about what happened on the night of Friday 19 January between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non-racing boat? 

First of all, we know a man lost his life, tragically, after an incident with one of our race boats. We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones and family. We are relieved that the nine other mariners on board were rescued and initial reports have them in good condition. 

In terms of what happened, we know a collision occurred shortly before 1723 UTC (which is when Race Control received the first message from Vestas 11th Hour Racing) between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non-racing vessel. The incident took place around 30 miles from the Leg 4 finish line in Hong Kong.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing immediately stopped racing, informed us at Race Control of the incident (at 1736 UTC), sent a Mayday distress signal on behalf of the other vessel and aided in the search and rescue mission.

What happened then?

Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre informed Race Control that a nearby commercial vessel had rescued nine of the crew from the other boat, and a tenth was taken to hospital by helicopter after he had been rescued from the water by the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew. We’re deeply saddened to report that Hong Kong MRCC confirmed the death of that airlifted crewmember later on Saturday morning.

What happened to the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew and boat?

All Vestas 11th Hour Racing crewmembers are safe and uninjured but the boat suffered some damage to its hull. After participating in the rescue, the team was able to return to port without assistance and under its own power despite the damage. At no time did Vestas 11th Hour Racing request assistance for themselves.

What caused the collision? Was the other boat showing navigation lights, or using the AIS (Automatic Identification System)?

We don’t have answers to those questions yet but of course those are central question to the on-going investigation. Both Vestas 11th Hour Racing and the Volvo Ocean Race will cooperate with the relevant authorities to establish what happened.

Could Race Control have prevented this accident by informing Vestas 11th Hour Racing of an imminent collision?

No. While Race Control does monitor the position of the race boats for safety reasons, Race Control does not have access to the position of every other vessel at sea.

What do we know about the other vessel involved in the collision and its crew?

We are trying to find out more. We know the other boat was damaged significantly and understand that it sank as a result of the incident. We know that 10 crew were on board and that all 10 were recovered but tragically, one was later pronounced dead at the hospital. We at Volvo Ocean Race, along with Vestas 11th Hour Racing are working with the local authorities to learn more about the crew of the boat involved in the incident. In fact, that is our main priority.

Can you release the name of the casualty?

We are seeking confirmation of identity from authorities as well as the appropriate information to release as per local custom.

What happened with Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel in terms of them assisting with the rescue?

Dongfeng Race Team were the first race boat to be near the scene and they immediately offered to divert to assist. At 1821 UTC Vestas 11th Hour Racing confirmed by email to Dongfeng Race Team that additional assistance was not required, so Dongfeng Race Team continued on to the finish.

Later, when team AkzoNobel arrived near the area on its route to the finish line, Race Control requested they stand by to support Vestas 11th Hour Racing as a precaution. Neither Vestas 11th Hour Racing nor the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre requested this assistance and once it was clear they were not required, Race Control released team AkzoNobel to finish the leg.

How is the crew of Vestas 11th Hour Racing?

As you would imagine they are very shaken and deeply saddened by the incident. They are being supported by the rest of their team as well the Volvo Ocean Race organisation and have access to professional support should they request it.

What happens next?

Along with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we are actively working with the Hong Kong Police and the Maritime Authority to support the on-going investigation.

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Team AkzoNobel complete podium in Hong Kong


Team AkzoNobel claimed the final podium place of Leg 4, crossing the Hong Kong finish line in the early hours of Saturday morning to scoop third position after a rollercoaster race from Melbourne. 

The result is the best finish yet for Simeon Tienpont’s crew, and comes after an extremely tight turnaround in Australia in which boat damage sustained in the Southern Ocean meant that the crew managed just a couple of days rest following a brutal Leg 3.

“It’s a real boost, and it gives us confidence,” admitted Tienpont. “It’s important for the rest of the race. You work hard and you try to find that gap, performance-wise. These guys and girls didn’t flinch once, and we kept fighting back.”

He continued: “In the end, Scallywag pulled a good card. They were 100 miles back, but that’s sailing – I’m happy for them! We all work to be at the front. Everyone on board wants to win, and it’s not over til it’s over.”

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

Tienpont explained that Leg 4 was much trickier than he expected. “It was the biggest Doldrums I’ve ever crossed,” he said. “A lot of tactics, crew work, no sleep, changing sails, manoeuvres, and frustration.

“But I think we did really well – compliments to the team. You get unlucky moments but it’s how to deal with those and I think we did that well.” 

There was late drama for the purple boat as they diverted course on the final approach to Hong Kong to support Vestas 11th Hour Racing following a collision with another vessel – but after receiving the all clear to continue racing, AkzoNobel finally crossed the line 17 days 21 hours and 6 seconds after departing Melbourne.

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Dongfeng take second place into Hong Kong


Dongfeng Race Team have taken second place into Hong Kong – claiming the runner-up spot behind local boat Scallywag.

Charles Caudrelier's team docked into the Hong Kong Race Village at Kai Tak Park Runway at 20:33 UTC on Friday evening, after 17 days 17 hours and 18 minutes of racing on Leg 4.

Dongfeng sailor Horace, who is from nearby Shenzen and learnt how to sail in Hong Kong and has opened a sailing school nearby, said: "I'm so proud. I didn't expect so many people on the pontoon to welcome us. It's very exciting to represent Dongfeng and sail into Hong Kong.

"It's a place with special memories for me. In 2011, I met my mentor here – Frank Pong, who gave me my sailing skills, and taught me how to be a good sailor."

He continued: "I want to thank my crew. We have nice memories of this leg for sure, and it was very difficult for us. You can't imagine – the Doldrums has no wind, and is a big challenge for all the team, mostly the navigator. Congratulations to Scallywag on winning a very tough leg."

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

Dongfeng's finish behind Scallywag means a memorable 1-2 for Asian sailing, and that's great news for the region, according to Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier.

"It's very important for Asia," he said. "I'm very happy about this result – of course we wanted to arrive first here, when we arrived first into Sanya it was amazing for our sponsor, but it's still good for us.

He continued: "We're taking back points on MAPFRE. The leg was very complicated, and even though we sailed very well, the Doldrums was a nightmare. You never know what's going to happen – and Scallywag caught a couple of clouds and took the lead."

Dongfeng went into Leg 4 without navigator Pascal Bidegorry, who stepped off due to injury and was replaced by Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper Franck Cammas at the navigation desk.

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

"Franck is a very good sailor, and it was very positive," said Caudrelier. "|He didn't know the boat when he arrived, and he had a lot of new ideas. He did a good job with the navigation and we were leading the race before the Doldrums.

After four legs of the race – and some brutal sailing conditions in the Southern Ocean – Caudrelier admitted that his crew were feeling the strain.

"I realised (in Melbourne) that we were all exhausted and I think it's good to have fresh people like Franck and Justine (Mettraux) on the boat. We can feel that the people who've done all the legs are very tired. When Pascal got injured I was a bit worried, as he is a key member of the team, but the result is good and he is coming back fresh – he has had a good break and that will be important going forward."

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Fatality confirmed of fishing vessel crew member


The Volvo Ocean Race is deeply saddened to inform that the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a team competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, and a fishing vessel has resulted in a fatality of a crew member of the fishing vessel. 

On behalf of the Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.

The incident occurred approximately 30 miles from the finish of Leg 4, outside of Hong Kong waters. Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018 (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team, none of whom were injured in the collision, issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) and undertook a search and rescue mission. 

HKMRCC informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital. HKMRCC has since confirmed the death of the air-lifted crew member.

Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now focused on providing immediate support to those affected by this incident.

All involved organisations are co-operating with the authorities and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation.

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Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag record historic win into home port of Hong Kong


Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag have won Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, leading the fleet into their home port of Hong Kong.

It’s an historic win for skipper David Witt and his team who had to overcome significant setbacks on the leg before 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.

David Witt

It was an extended Doldrums crossing, and Scallywag had moments where they appeared to be in a strong position.

But late in the crossing, after falling behind the fleet again, Witt and navigator Libby Greenhalgh 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.

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

The move paid dividends nearly immediately on the leaderboard as Scallywag had less miles to sail to the finish line, but pundits cautioned that the teams in the north would almost certainly overhaul them as the tradewinds filled in from the northeast.

It never happened.

Even when the team dropped miles recovering a man overboard after Alex Gough 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.

But then, the chasing boats began chipping away at the lead. Two days out from the finish, the margin had been cut significantly and the pressure mounted.

“I was really impressed by the way we operated over the past couple of days,” Witt said. “We had a pretty big lead and then through no fault of our own, about two-thirds of it got taken away. But we stuck to our guns, did what we thought was right and it’s worked out.”

With the Leg 4 win, Scallywag picks up 8 points (7 points for first place plus a one point win bonus). It will vault the team up to mid-fleet on the overall leaderboard, in a very respectable fourth place.

“It was always going to take us longer than the others to get up to speed as we were the last to enter,” Witt said. “All teams need a bit of confidence and I think one thing that is underrated in sport is momentum and this will certainly give the Scallywags plenty of that… We’re all still learning and we’re going to keep getting better as we go on.”

Witt has acknowledged the significance of the win as the local team leading the fleet into the first ever Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Hong Kong. For the team owner, Seng Huang Lee, who has supported Scallywag sailing over the years, it’s a big moment.

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

“We’re a privately owned team and our owner Mr. Lee has poured his passion and enthusiasm and vision into this project and this win will be very special for him… Winning this leg will be a massive platform for Scallywag going forward.”

Behind Scallywag, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Dongfeng Race Team are battling for second place and expected to finish approximately two and three hours behind the winner. The rest of the fleet is forecast to finish at intervals over the following 12 hours.

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

Leg 4 – Provisional Results at Friday 19 January (Leg 4, Day 18) at 21:05UTC
1. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag -- FINISHED – 17.45.42 UTC 
2. Dongfeng Race Team -- FINISHED - 20.33.22 UTC 
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- RACING
4. team AkzoNobel – RACING
6. Team Brunel -- RACING
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic -- RACING

Volvo Ocean Race – Current Leaderboard
Leg 4
Melbourne to Hong Kong 20 January 2018
Positions at: 05:15 UTC DTL nm GAIN_LOSS STATUS SPEED kt COURSE TWS kt TWD DTF nm 1 SHKS ARV Elapsed time: 17d 14:30:42 2 DFRT ARV Elapsed time: 17d 17:18:22 3 AKZO ARV Elapsed time: 17d 21:06:16 4 MAPF ARV Elapsed time: 17d 22:36:10 5 TBRU ARV Elapsed time: 18d 00:45:56 6 TTOP ARV Elapsed time: 18d 01:39:00 7 VS11 RET

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