Team Vestas Wind’s Volvo 65 is in one piece, sitting on the deck of a Maersk container ship today yet badly damaged and missing a few appendages after running hard up on a reef north of Mauritius over three weeks ago.
It’s incredible that she’s not still sitting high and dry on the reef still though considering how deep into the reef she ran while cruising along at 19 knots.
Led by skipper Chris Nicholson and shore manager Neil “Coxy” Cox and with the support of the locals on the island, her keel was cut off and was pulled straight through the lagoon at high tide.
From what we hear, the mast was sort of salvaged, but is in a few pieces as it needed to be put into a 40-foot container.
Cox notes that upon arrival of the containership, the removal of the wreck took about three hours.
“We spent the last three days getting this boat off this reef – it was beyond delicate,” says Cox..
“We have a pretty well-rehearsed method of picking these boats up – but everything that we would normally just set ourselves up for, we had to think about it, look if it was okay, and then acknowledge that certain things just weren’t.
“We had to bounce slightly and re-invent the wheel, we just needed to be very careful and just make sure that we finished the job swiftly.”
The major focus of the salvage process was to ensure the structural integrity of the boat while hauling it off the reef, keeping it afloat after entering deeper water seems to be of lesser focus considering much of the water tight compartments, particularly in the bow, remained watertight even after the grounding.
The next step?
“Well, it’s now a 28 hour motor to get back to Mauritius,” says Cox.
From there, they’ll transport the boat to Malaysia and then to a destination yet to be confirmed in Europe, according to Volvo Ocean Race officials.