PUMA Ocean Racing skipper Ken Read praised the heroism of his crew in the moments after the boat’s dismasting and promised they would get back in the Volvo Ocean Race.
“This is a huge setback to the programme but is it the end of the programme? Not even a little bit. We’ll live to fight another day, I promise you that” - Ken Read
As the team weighed their options on Tuesday, Read said the incident had been a huge setback but was not even close to putting the team’s campaign in jeopardy.
Read also described the actions of his crew as “awesome” after the 31-metre tall rig broke into three pieces shortly after 1400 UTC on Monday while sailing in a 23 knot-breeze.
Bowman Casey Smith dived into the water to free the mainsail from the broken mast before the crew salvaged what they could and set a jury rig from the remaining stump.
“Everyone’s in one piece, no-one was hurt, nobody was even close to hurt,” Read said in a video message from PUMA’s Mar Mostro.
“Then there were some clear heroics from the crew. Casey, knowing full well that I wouldn’t let him jump in the water to cut the mainsail free to try to save the mainsail, jumped in without asking my permission.
“Tony [Mutter, PUMA watch captain] has some experience with losing masts in the middle of oceans so that came into play. All in all it was as you’d expect with this group – an incredible act of seamanship to make sure the boat wasn’t damaged and make sure everyone was in one piece.”
PUMA Ocean Race powered by BERG were this morning sailing towards the tiny island of Tristan da Cunha, around 700 nautical miles away, having made the difficult call to pull out of the leg.
Meanwhile, their shore team were working with the Volvo Ocean Race on solutions to get PUMA’s Mar Mostro to Cape Town.
“The bottom line is our leg’s over,” Read said. “We’re assessing all our options. To say we’re disappointed would be the understatement of the century. The boat was going great, the team was exactly what I always knew: awesome.
“This is a huge setback to the programme but is it the end of the programme? Not even a little bit. Is it realistically quite a set back? Of course it is. We’ll live to fight another day, I promise you that.”
PUMA are the third team to retire from Leg 1 of the race after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing withdrew with a broken mast and Team Sanya pulled out due to structural damage.
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