Grounded Danish ocean racers vow ‘we’ll be back’

Grounded Danish ocean racers vow 'we'll be back'
A Volvo Ocean Race Hand Out image shows Danish Team Vestas Wind aground on the reef in Cargados Carajos Shoals off the coast of Mauritius on November 30th. Photo: Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica/Scanpix
The Danish team in the Volvo Ocean Race had to leave their boat stranded on a reef in the middle of the Indian Ocean and now plans to build a new vessel in order to complete the nine-month race.
Danish entrants Team Vestas Wind are planning to build a new vessel in double quick time to ensure they can finish the Volvo Ocean Race after grounding their previous boat last week.
The team's CEO, Morten Albæk, told a press call on Monday that their boat could probably not be repaired after it collided with a reef in the middle of the Indian Ocean on November 29th.
Their Australian skipper Chris Nicholson led the crew to relative safety on a nearby islet, Íle du Sud, after the crash but later discovered it had almost no communications with the outside world and was surrounded by sharks. After spending two days stranded there, the crew were rescued by a fishing boat and taken to Mauritius. The boat is still stranded on the reef.
"It is Vestas' clear ambition to get Team Vestas Wind out sailing again," Albæk told reporters in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
"We'll do everything within our means to make that happen. That said, the assessment from all parties is that the boat can't be repaired, and therefore one of the options we're looking into is building a new boat," added Albæk.
"Whether that can be done, and done in a time which is meaningful for Team Vestas Wind to re-enter the race, is still to be concluded. We're working closely together with Volvo Ocean Race on exploring that opportunity."
Normally, the 4.5 million euro (33.3 million kroner, $5.53 million), one-design Volvo Ocean 65 takes nine months to build but Vestas plan to do it around half that time.
The nine-month race, which started in Alicante, Spain on October 4th, is scheduled to finish in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27 next year.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad warned it would be tough task to build the new 65-foot yacht in time.
"I must underline that that is no small challenge. I don't want anyone to have expectations that this will easily happen; it's an enormous challenge," he told the press call. "But the Volvo Ocean Race is all about enormous challenges."
The second leg from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi of the round-the-world, nine-month marathon is expected to be completed by the remaining six boats in the fleet at the weekend.

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