PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG have officially retired from Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 after suffering a broken mast.
The rig on board PUMA's Mar Mostro failed on Monday, November 21, at around 1500 UTC in the southern Atlantic Ocean, about 2,150 nautical miles from Cape Town, South Africa. All crew were uninjured.
The team have recovered all three pieces of the mast and all sails from the water. They are currently headed towards 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"We've just withdrawn from the leg," said skipper Ken Read.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 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'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.
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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Editors' Notes: The Volvo Ocean Race
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 started on October 29 in Alicante, Spain and will finish in Galway, Ireland in July.
The course of the race includes stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France).
The first race first took place 38 years ago (as the Whitbread Round the World Race 1973-74), testing the crews against some of the most ferocious elements that man can encounter.
The 2011-12 race takes the teams over 39,000 nautical miles (45,000 miles or 72,000 kilometres).
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