A Death in the Volvo Race

SAIL - - Racing Under Sail - Sail­magazine.com/rac­ing.

At press time, Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing and or­ga­niz­ers of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean race were still not say­ing much about what, if any­thing is go­ing to be done to pre­vent col­li­sions like the one that oc­curred be­tween Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing and a com­mer­cial fish­ing boat just 30 miles short of the fin­ish of Leg 4 in Hong Kong from hap­pen­ing again.

Pre­sum­ably, the other six teams all re­ceived a se­ri­ous de­brief­ing on the in­ci­dent, if for no other rea­son than the fact they would be rac­ing back through the ex­act same kinds of ship­ping-strewn wa­ter for much of Leg 6 from Hong Kong to Auck­land, New Zealand. How­ever, be­yond that, no word from the VOR other than that it was “ac­tively work­ing with the Hong Kong Po­lice and the Mar­itime Author­ity to sup­port the on-go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.” Be­cause of dam­age to its hull, Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing was not plan­ning on re­join­ing the race un­til Leg 7, from Auck­land to Itaja’, Brazil.

Ac­cord­ing to VOR or­ga­niz­ers, the ac­ci­dent took place at around 0123 Satur­day, Jan­uary 9, and there were 10 sailors aboard the com­mer­cial fish­ing ves­sel at the time of the col­li­sion. Nine of the crew were re­cov­ered safely, but the 10th, who was re­cov­ered by Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing, was later pro­nounced dead af­ter be­ing air­lifted to shore. None of the mem­bers of Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing were in­jured. Ques­tions like whether or not the fish­ing boat had it nav­i­ga­tion lights on, or whether Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing tried to make any last-minute moves to avoid the other boat re­main unan­swered.

At the time, Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing was sail­ing at about 20 knots through a stretch of wa­ter no­to­ri­ous for its com­mer­cial traf­fic and large fish­ing fleet to­ward what it hoped would be a se­cond-place fin­ish be­hind Hong Kong’s own Team Sun Hung Kai/Scal­ly­wag. The fish­ing boat that was struck ul­ti­mately sank, but Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing was able to make it into Hong Kong un­der its own power.

“On be­half of Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing and the Volvo Ocean Race, we of­fer our deep­est con­do­lences to the loved ones of the de­ceased,” the team said in an of­fi­cial state­ment af­ter­ward. “Ves­tas 11th Hour Rac­ing and the Volvo Ocean Race are now fo­cused on pro­vid­ing im­me­di­ate sup­port to those af­fected by this in­ci­dent and are co-op­er­at­ing with the author­i­ties in the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.” For that lat­est on the in­ci­dent, go to s

At press time, many ques­tions re­gard­ing the ac­ci­dent that killed a com­mer­cial fish­er­man in the Volvo Race re­mained unan­swered

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