Team Russia will sail with the fleet to St Petersburg, but will not be part of the race
Team Russia will sail with the fleet to St Petersburg but will not be a formal part of the racing proceedings, after being unable to overcome their rule compliance issues. (Read previous story here).
Westergaard has spent the last six months trying to get the boat back in the race, but despite reaching the leg 10 start port, acknowledged yesterday that he faced an enormous task to bring the boat and crew back in line with the class and race rules by the Thursday restart.
Ultimately, the scale of the operation was too large and the boat, which was in need of much maintenance after six months inactivity, was unable to comply with the all of the regulations. The team will now join the fleet on the 400-nautical mile trip to St Petersburg.
Team founder Oleg Zherebtsov said: “We have put a tremendous amount of work into bringing Kosatka to Stockholm in race-ready mode and compliant with the event’s rules with the aim of racing for the first time into Russian waters. Regrettably we realise there are too many issues to overcome.”
In explaining the decision, Race Director Jack Lloyd said: “We were thinking that they might make it this morning. They had one measurement issue that was weighing the boat, which we were looking about taking it to the Jury, but hadn’t made up our mind. Then we found another issue when the guys started checking the boat. There’s a safety mechanism on the keel canting system; you need a button that you can press that will mechanically put the keel back in the centre. If you are pinned down by the keel, you can mechanically crank it back up to the middle and help get the boat up.”
“We have been strong all along that we will not compromise on safety and this is a safety aspect,” he added.
There will be full coverage of the start (web tv and audio commentary) and the leg (including a live race blog) at www.volvooceanrace.org and www.volvooceanrace.tv . The start is scheduled for 12:00 GMT on Thursday, with an ETA in St. Petersburg on Saturday morning.