Team Sanya will make their return to competitive action in the Volvo Ocean Race in Miami, with the team reluctantly announcing on Monday that all options that would get the boat back in the race in Brazil have now been exhausted.
Sanya were forced to head back to New Zealand after rudder and hull damage suffered on March 22 meant they could not carry on racing into the Southern Ocean. Unable to deploy the reserve race rudder as the bearings had been mangled, they are using the emergency rudder over the stern of the boat to sail to Tauranga.
The shore team have spent the last four days investigating all options on how they might get back into the race as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to arrange for the boat to reach Itajaí in time, meaning they will miss Leg 6 and return for the Miami In-Port Race on May 19 and the start of Leg 7 to Lisbon on May 20.
The race boat and team are due to reach Tauranga in New Zealand on the evening of Tuesday, March 27, where they will immediately prepare the boat for shipment from Tauranga to Savannah in the United States. DHL, the race's official logistics partner, have organised all the team's freight, have arranged for a crane to haul the boat out of the water and will oversee all on-site operations in a major boost to the team.
The boat will be loaded onto a ship departing on the evening of Thursday, March 29 and is due to reach Savannah on April 27.
"Once we reach Savannah, we will re-assemble our shore team there and carry out the necessary repairs," said David Duff, COO for Team Sanya. "We will then sail the race boat for the 350 mile trip from Savannah to Miami as a shake-down opportunity and we should be in place in Miami in early May – in line with the other race boats that are expected there on May 6."
Mike Sanderson, Team Sanya CEO & Skipper, commented from the race boat on the next plan of action:
"For sure we are absolutely gutted to find ourselves for the third time in a devastating position. Twice now we have been leading the fleet only to encounter a major issue forcing us out of the leg. That said, we are as focused as ever to get back into the race and to make our sponsors and fans proud.
"Right now it's a case of pushing the boat as fast as we can to reach Tauranga in time as our turn-around time there is very tight – and trying to do that with a damaged hull and emergency rudder is not ideal. But we will make it happen and Team Sanya will be back in action before you know it."
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- 23 Mar 2012Pushing the limits of man and boat
- 23 Mar 2012Tauranga-bound Sanya pledge return in Miami at latest
- 21 Mar 2012Confident Kirketerp comes through hair-raising start
- 17 Mar 2012Kirketerp expects Southern Ocean baptism of fire