Dismasted Volvo boat SEB limps across Southern Ocean

A Volvo Ocean Race boat dismasted in the Southern Ocean was limping toward Cape Horn last week as a new mast was limping, via air and truck, toward a rendezvous in Argentina. While the sailors of SEB rigged a stump of a mast barely taller than any of the crew and managed to eke out a meager 6 to 8 knots, following the rig failure, the mast was removed from storage in Gothenburg, Sweden, and flown to Argentina. The mast will then be loaded onto a truck and travel the rural roads of southern Argentina for a proposed rendezvous with the boat at Ushuaia.

"A severe storm gust from a snow squall pushed us over and made us wipe out, and in that moment we lost the rig. The mast had to be cut away and disappeared overboard. We managed to save the broken boom though," skipper Gurra Krantz reported from the boat. "We have looked into a number of logistical options for quickly getting our spare mast to the boat. On some occasions, the small town Ushuaia in Argentina has been used as change-of-mast port and most likely it will be suitable for us too," said Pelle Norberg, managing director of the syndicate company within Team SEB.

SEB managed to increase boat speed to an average of 6.5 knots, topping 8 at times, even though the jury-rig is made up of the man-high stump of the mast, which was left on the boat, a broken boom and a broken spinnaker pole.

In the prior race, in 1993/94, no less than three boats were dismasted: Tokio, Fortuna and New Zealand Endeavour, who eventually won the race overall. During the 1989/90 race, Swedish The Card lost her mizzen overboard during the Auckland restart, and the maxi Creighton’s Naturally lost the top of her mast during on the second leg, across the Southern Ocean.

Follow progress of the Volvo Ocean Race at www.VolvoOceanRace.org.

Follow Windjet's progress at www.windjet.co.uk.

By Ocean Navigator