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Off the rocks



After an extraordinary rescue operation masterminded by shore manager Neil Cox, the Team Vestas Wind boat has been lifted off the rocks of the reef in the Indian Ocean where it grounded three weeks ago and has been loaded onto a Maersk cargo ship. Now the boat has begun its long voyage first to Mauritius, then Malaysia and on to an undisclosed destination in Europe.


Skipper Chris Nicholson travelled back from Abu Dhabi to the scene of the wreck to work with Cox and a number of others, supported by a workforce of 10 local residents who have worked around the clock for the past three days.


Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber explained that the retrieval was achieved thanks to meticulous planning beforehand in which several scenarios were explored with a detailed plan of action for each.


“Our preferred plan – to rescue the boat as intact as possible – worked out,” he said.


He paid tribute to the race’s shipping partners, Maersk Line, and their retrieval company, Svitzer, which had played a large role in the operation.


“We have had awesome co-operation,” he said. “They were a dream to work with.” Touber continued: “For both ourselves and the sponsors of the boat – Vestas and (sub-sponsors) Powerhouse – it was also completely key that we made sure that the environment in this beautiful part of the world was looked after too.”


Team Vestas Wind CEO and Vestas Chief Marketing Officer, Morten Albæk, added his voice to the praise for Maersk and the residents of the island who assisted with the retrieval.


“We have been in contact with the shore manager of Team Vestas Wind, Neil Cox, throughout and were so relieved to hear that the operation to lift the boat intact on to the ship was a complete success thanks to great teamwork involving Maersk, our team, Volvo Ocean Race and the local people.


“For us, the environmental side of this project was a key objective. It’s mission accomplished.


"We'll make an announcement on the outlook regarding a potential return to the 2014-15 Race before the start of Leg 3 (January 3).”


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