Volvo Ocean Race: Report released into Team Vestas Wind grounding

Team Vestas Wind’’s boat grounded on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean.  pic by Brian Carlin - Team Vestas Wind

Team Vestas Wind’’s boat grounded on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean.
pic by Brian Carlin – Team Vestas Wind

An independent report into the grounding of Team Vestas Wind on Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race was released today. It included a set of recommendations aimed at improving safety at sea for the entire offshore racing community.

In particular, it has suggested improving navigational charts and other on board software to avoid similar incidents in the future.

The Danish boat, Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS), was stranded on a reef at Cargados Carajos Shoals in the middle of the Indian Ocean during the stage from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on November 29. The crew were forced to abandon the boat.

The badly damaged Vestas Wind has since been retrieved from the reef and is being rebuilt in the Persico boatyard in Bergamo, Italy, with a view to returning to the race for the last two stages starting from Lisbon, Portugal in June.

The independent report into the incident, commissioned by the Race in December, was conducted by acknowledged experts in the field – Rear Admiral (Rtd) Chris Oxenbould (chair), Stan Honey and Chuck Hawley (see short bio’s below).

The panel reported that the facts of the grounding had already been well publicised and that its findings regarding what happened are based on interviews with the crew, race management, other relevant parties and recorded data were not contentious.

‘The team was unaware of any navigational danger in its vicinity, incorrectly assessed the minimum charted depth at Cargados Carajos Shoals to be 40 metres and understood that it was safe to sail across the shoals,’ summed up the panel.

Conclusions:
The panel has not apportioned blame, but made the following conclusions:

i. There were deficiencies in the use of electronic charts and other navigational data onboard Vestas Wind.

ii. There were also deficiencies in the cartography presenting the navigational dangers on the small and medium scales of the chart system in use.

iii. The emergency management worked well and there were no administrative or race management issues that contributed to the incident.

The full report can be read by clicking here

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