As our VO65 comes together in Bergamo, we catch up with Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson for an update on the Team.
In what feels like a bittersweet time for the Teams, it’s fantastic to see the boats round Cape Horn safely, but frustrating for those of us on shore and the DongFeng sailors who were forced to abandon Leg 5 due to a broken mast. Again we can see just how brutal the Southern Ocean can be. In the modern history of the race the fleet as whole have never gotten through the Southern Ocean without a major issue. The fleet almost got through but we can again see just how unforgiving it is. We wish our friends a speedy recovery and look forward to rejoining the race with them soon.
Meanwhile on land, we are now approximately half way through the repair process of the Team Vestas Wind boat, and we are also on the way to bringing the team back together.
I think we are right in the most difficult time of the rebuild. The boat is fully underway, but essentially the sailing team are spread out throughout the world. In our own way, we are individually preparing to come back for Lisbon, but we will not regroup as a full team until the end of April. With the one-design rule, we are not allowed to contribute to the structural repair process, so as you can imagine, it’s a frustrating time for a group of motivated sailors that want to get back in the race.
We are working on our lists and procedures to try and speed up the process for when we get our boat in Lisbon, and Trae, Tom Johnson and Nicolai have been at Persico Marine for the last 2 weeks sorting out the sails and safety gear. Brian Carlin has also been present to capture the process on film and stills.
It feels like we are almost over the hump, and we can see with Coxy’s updates that the boat is rapidly moving forward. We now have real traction in regards to trying to make our re-start in Lisbon.
We have said before that the rebuild is ambitious, but in the end, the Volvo Ocean Race is an ambitious undertaking, and no matter how difficult the last months have been, we are far better off than if our race had finished on the reef. The team is extremely grateful for the help and good wishes and we are all looking forward to finishing what we started.
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