Structural problems with the deck forces VOR yacht Brasil 1 to return to Cape Town

After less than 48 hours at sea, the ocean is taking its toll as two boats are now retracing their steps to the South African coast. Earlier this morning Ericsson Racing Team (Neal McDonald), in second place at the time, reported a problem with their canting keel system and turned the boat around, heading towards Mossel Bay, 187 miles east of Cape Town. Shortly afterwards, Brasil 1 (Torben Grael) reported a structural problem and Grael has also now headed towards the shore. Both boats will be met by their shore teams where the damage will be assessed.

At 0700 GMT, the crew of Brasil 1 discovered a structural problem in the deck of the boat. The crew have slowed the boat down and are now sailing towards South Africa. Brasil 1 suffered the damage while sailing upwind with 15 knots of wind, 300 nautical miles of the south coast of South Africa.

The team are now making emergency repairs to prevent further damage. The objective is to get to South Africa as soon as possible. The shore crew is already in position and waiting for the boat’s arrival when they will analyse the problems and carry out the necessary repairs as efficiently as possible. Only after this analysis will the team make a decision on what to do concerning the second leg.

Project director Alan Adler said: “We received this information early this morning here in Brazil with a bit of disappointment. But the most important thing right now is the crew´s safety. The Volvo Ocean Race is a long competition and this is only beginning. Brasil 1 is returning to South Africa and we are concentrating all our efforts on repairing the boat in the best way possible. Brasil 1 has proved so far that it is an excellent team and capable of conquering the challenge of the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Meanwhile, out on the race track, movistar (Bouwe Bekking) leads from ABN AMRO ONE (Mike Sanderson) with Pirates of the Caribbean (Paul Cayard) in third position. The breeze is still on the nose and the sailing is wet and below decks it is very noisy as the boats crash off the waves. Paul Cayard reported that during the night, the Black Pearl was launching off the waves at 11 knots and slamming down hard, making some awful sounds. The team throttled back for a while, a bit shy from their leg one mishap. The sea state has improved significantly this morning.