A SOUTH coast round the world yacht team will return to racing this weekend just weeks after losing their mast in the Southern Ocean.
Dongfeng Race Team, run by Cowes-based management company OC, were leading the six-strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet when their huge 30-metre mast came crashing down on March 30.
The crew, led by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, limped into port at Ushuaia on the southern tip of South America while their shore crew began arranging delivery of a new mast.
The boat was then sailed by a shore crew team plus two Chinese sailors under jury rig for 2,000 miles through the Southern Ocean and South Atlantic for its rendezvous with the rest of the fleet in Itajaí, Brazil.
Suppliers Southern Spars transported a new mast from Dubai, via Amsterdam, to Brazil and despite some major logistical challenges that had arrived safely too by Sunday.
Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard chief, Nick Bice, and his team will now work flat out with the Dongfeng Race Team shore team to ensure the boat is in optimum condition for the weekend’s Team VestasWind Itajaí In-Port Race on Saturday and leg 6 start on Sunday.
The ambition was to have the boat back in the water by today (Thurs) with the new rig fitted and any other minor repairs carried out.
As they did not complete the leg, Dongfeng Race Team collected eight points to go seven behind stage victors Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, led by Hampshire’s Ian Walker.
Caudrelier said: “Today we know we’ll be ready for the next leg. Well done to the shore team.
“We hope to be ready on Thursday and go sailing in the evening to race on Saturday.
“Breaking the mast was a difficult moment. We lost the joint lead of the race, we lost eight points.
“Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing now far ahead and they have a big advantage.
“It will be difficult to come back and we’re close in points with the boats behind – we could very well finish fifth.
“We have to stay focused. We’ll do what we’ve done in the previous legs and we’ll see what happens. Anything could still happen.”
Leg 6 sets off from Itajaí to Newport, Rhode Island this Sunday and three more follow it including the transatlantic trip from USA to Lisbon (Leg 7).
more info ……….. volvooceanrace.com
by dailyecho UK