Photos; Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi returns to Auckland

Disaster for Ian Walker's team after strong start

Sunday March 18th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has suspended racing and is heading back to Auckland after the bulkhead supporting their J4 ripped clean out after the start of Leg 5 to Itajaí.

The fleet began Leg 5 from Auckland in New Zealand to Itajaí in Brazil at 1400 local time in Auckland (0100 UTC) on Sunday. The team skippered by Ian Walker had been lying second as the boats headed out into the Hauraki Gulf.

“Only 50 nautical miles into the leg and given the close proximity to Auckland, where the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing shore team is still based, Walker decided returning to port to undertake repairs was the best course of action,” the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team said in a statement.

“No crew members were injured and all are safe on board. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is expected to re-join the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5 immediately after repairs are complete - approximately in the next 48 hours."

Nick Dana, Abu Dhabi’s Media Crew Member, added: “Absolutely gutted. After going off a fairly-sized and steep wave, we have torn the J4 bulkhead clean out. We are now headed for Auckland and hopefully a quick turnaround. The team is devastated but fully focused on the task in hand.”


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