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Cause of mast breakage a mystery for Volvo round the world race team


Ian Walker and the crew of Abu Dhabi are working “flat out” to complete the replacement mast for Abu Dhabi in the Volvo round the world race. But the cause of the original mast breaking in three pieces just five and a quarter hours into the first ocean leg from Alicante to Cape Town is still not known.

If the cause can he identified and if everything goes well there is still a chance that the boat could restart from Alicante on Tuesday, but Wednesday is more likely and the team would have to be confident that the fault had been identified and rectified before starting on 6,500 miles at sea.

No easy fix is available for the second boat to suspend racing, Sanya. Mike Sanderson, skipper of the Chinese entry, has reported substantial damage to the bow, the cause of which is also unknown.

The most likely solution will be to ship the 70-foot yacht to Cape Town and complete the extensive structural repairs in South Africa.

On the water, three of the four remaining competitors are in close contact with the Spain’s Camper, managed by Team New Zealand, just holding off the other Spanish boat, Telefonica, as they head south towards the Canaries with the American-flagged Puma.

But the French entry Groupama has taken a more southerly route and is in third place just over two miles behind Camper.

Further west in the Atlantic Jean-Pierre Dick has overtaken Britain’s Alex Thomson to grab the lead of the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Costa Rica. The second British skipper, Mike Golding is lying seventh.