#VOLVO OCEAN RACE – 24 hours in to the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) and the fleet is reduced by one third. First Abu Dhabi was dismasted and now news is coming ashore that Team Sanya has suffered hull damage and is heading back for landfall.
Aksel Magdahl, Navigator on-board Team Sanya reported this morning had suffered hull damage on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, which began yesterday in Alicante.
The yacht is 25% backed by Irish tourism body Discover Ireland. The damage happened just 24 hours after Ireland's Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney left the boat shorly after the start of the race.
Mike Sanderson, Skipper has confirmed to Volvo Ocean Race Control that "The situation is very much under control, everyone is obviously disappointed but in good spirits as all are safe on-board," he said.
The boat was approximately 30 nautical miles SE of Motril, on the coast of Spain. The wind was blowing 43 plus knots and the waves were around 10.5 metres.
The watertight doors had already been closed as a precaution due to the prevailing conditions and the boat is making its way to Puerto de Motril. After entering flat water, Team Sanya has suspended racing.
Volvo Ocean Race control is in constant contact with the team while establishing the full extent of the damage so that the crew are given full support to enable them to deal with the situation.
Team Sanya's shore team are working on a recovery plan to ensure the yacht can rejoin the Volvo Ocean Race as soon as practically possible.1300 hours Sunday: Mike Sanderson, CEO/Skipper of Team Sanya, updates us on the latest situation and his thoughts:
So close to making it through the worst of the big breeze and then disaster struck. We were looking after the boat nicely when at approx 0900 this morning while going upwind in 35 knots of wind, suddenly the boat went really bow down and immediately we knew it wasn't good. Instantly we slowed the boat right down, got the remainder of the guys in their bunks into life jackets and then set about tacking over to head for shelter.
The water tight bulkhead is doing a great job, the pumps are running and we are nursing the boat with just a double reefed mainsail into port.
Right now we have no idea how major the damage is, we can however see a puncture wound on the port side and streams of carbon peeling off so it isn't good. We are all safe though, as I write this we are just an hour from a safe harbour. The guys are doing a fantastic job, all very positive and working incredibly hard even though you can see the bitter disappointment on all their faces.
Be under no illusion though, we will be back with vengeance.
I will let you all know as soon as we have checked our poor boat out in a few hours...