“These are our new best friends,” skipper Ken Read remarked as the Maltese-flagged containership Zim Monaco pulled up alongside his carbon fiber dismasted raceboat, Mar Mostro, in the middle of the southern Atlantic Ocean.
This 257-meter long containership had recently departed Rio de Janeiro when they were alerted to the emergency on board Puma Ocean Racing’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race… While sailing along comfortably at around 21 knots of boatspeed, Mar Mostro’s carbon fiber mast snapped unexpectedly, quickly changing their situation from competition, to survival.
They were 700 miles from land and the carbon stump sticking out of their deck was not going to get them to shore before their food and water ran out.
After carefully lowering jugs of diesel from the towering steel hull deck of Zim Monaco, Mar Mostro now is powering her way to the obscure rocky island of Tristan da Cunha, where in a few days time, her crew will rendezvous with another merchant ship that will pluck the yacht from the sea and carry her south to Cape Town, and hopefully in time for the start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Ironically enough, Mar Mostro’s other major sponsor, besides Puma, is Berg Propulsion, a designer and producer of controllable pitch propellers. Who would have guessed that during the first leg of this famous race, that already half the fleet would have had to rely on their propellers, vice sails, to get safely to shore…
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