Puma retires from leg one

Dismasted VO70 heading for Tristan da Cunha

Tuesday November 22nd 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and PredictWind.

After suffering a broken mast, the Puma Ocean Racing powered by BERG team has officially retired from Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. The rig onboard Puma’s Mar Mostro failed on Monday, November 21, at around 15:00 UTC in the South Atlantic, about 2,150 nautical miles from Cape Town, South Africa. All crew were unhurt.

“We had a complete disaster, cruising along, reaching along 23 knots of breeze, jib, staysail and the mast fell over the side. Obviously first things first everybody was in one piece, no body was hurt, no body was even close to being hurt and then some clear heroics from the crew,” said skipper Ken Read. “Casey [Smith] knowing full well that I wouldn’t let him jump in the water to cut the main sail free to try to save the main sail just jumped in without asking my permission."

The team has recovered all pieces of the mast and all sails from the water. They are currently headed toward the island of Tristan da Cunha.

“We’ve just withdrawn from the leg,” continued Ken Read. “We have [the mast] jury rigged – we have about 15 feet of mast left. We have our trysail and storm jib awkwardly set. We’re supplementing that with really low revs of the engine just to make forward progress.

“As you can imagine, there aren’t a lot of smiles right now, but one way to make it even worse would be to proclaim that there wasn’t a chance to make the next leg.

“This is about earning points in this race. We think by sacrificing points on this first leg, it gives us a chance to actually earn points for the second leg and the In-Port Race. So, that’s our goal.

“We have all of our fantastic Puma shore team, the Berg team and of course Volvo all trying to sort it out right now, giving us the help that we need to get to Cape Town in order to make repairs and be ready for the next leg.”

Puma was in second position in the first leg of the race, sailing from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town when the mast broke. The cause of the dismasting is not known at this stage.

Puma Ocean Racing’s shore team is working on a recovery plan to ensure the yacht can rejoin the race as soon as practically possible and will work closely with Volvo Ocean Race to determine the cause of the dismasting.

Volvo Ocean Race control is in constant contact with the team to establish the full extent of the damage and ensure the crew are given full support to enable them to deal with the situation.

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