Broken mast forces Puma out of Volvo race


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The Independent Online

And then there were three. The American yacht Puma became the third of the original six to have officially retired from leg one of the Volvo round the world race after becoming the second to suffer a broken mast.

The rig failed on Monday, November 21, at around 1500 UTC in the southern Atlantic Ocean, about 2,150 nautical miles from Cape Town, South Africa. None of the crew was uninjured.

The team ha s recovered all three pieces of the mast and all sails from the water. The 70-foot racing boat is heading to the small island of Tristan da Cunha, less than 700 nautical miles away.

 “We’ve just withdrawn from the leg,” said skipper Ken Read.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 shore 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’s mast broke when she was in second position trailing race leader Team Telefónica by just 31nm in the Leg 1 race from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town. The cause of the dismasting is not known at this stage. Volvo Ocean Race control is in constant contact with the team to establish the full extent of the damage and ensure the crew is given full support to enable them to deal with the situation.

That leaves the two Spanish boats, Telefonica and the New Zealand-managed Camper, in first and second with the French entry Groupama trying the catch but, assuming no major damage there, now in a podium position at the end of the 6,500-mile leg from Alicante to Cape Town.