Crew injured during dismasting aboard New Zealand yacht Maximus. ABN AMRO also retires with broken mast 26/12/06

Overnight the gruelling Rolex Sydney Hobart claimed the scalp of race leader and round the world Volvo 70 ABN AMRO ONE skippered by New Zealand yachtsman Mike Sanderson and a short time later, Charles St Clair Brown and Bill Buckley’s 30m maxi Maximus was also dismasted.

At 0308hours this morning ABN AMRO ONE advised the race committee they had been dismasted in 30 knots of breeze and at 0330 hours Maximus also advised they had been dismasted south of Batemans Bay and had six injured crew aboard.

A police launch is currently heading out to assess the situation on Maximus and coordinate getting the injured crew off the New Zealand maxi which was contesting its first Rolex Sydney Hobart. A helicopter is on standby and pending police assessment may need to pick up and transfer some of the injured crew.

ABN AMRO ONE not only contested the Volvo 2005-06 Ocean Race, they won it. Having faced some of the toughest waters on the planet, they have come unstuck early this morning well east of Montague Island on the NSW far south coast.

All the crew are OK although obviously disappointed, particularly as they were leading Wild Oats XI by five nautical miles when the incident occurred.

Mike Sanderson commented: “We are all very disappointed. We had a great first night on the water and we had managed to keep right up there with the other maxis. The most important thing is of course that all the crew are safe and we have had no injuries – we are heading back towards Sydney and hope to be there as soon as possible.

Between 1am and 2am this morning, ABN AMRO ONE, which was well east of the rhumbline took the race lead from Wild Oats XI which had led the fleet since the 1.00pm start on Sydney Harbour yesterday afternoon.

ABN AMRO ONE cut away their rig and dropped it over the side. They are currently motoring back to Sydney.

Maximus still has the rig attached but this morning will attempt to cut it away in daylight.

A third retirement, Endorfin, suffered steering gear failure overnight and is heading for Sydney.

Wild Oats XI has resumed its position at the head of the fleet and is currently two miles ahead of Grant Wharington’s Skandia.