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Getting shipwrecked – first hand!



Getting shipwrecked is never a pleasant experience even if no one is hurt. It’s one of life’s moments to be avoided at all costs.


Ask Australian skipper Chris Nicholson and his 8-man crew aboard the 65-foot Team Vestas Wind, who came to grief while racing from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on Leg Two of the Volvo Ocean Race around the world.


Their race ground literally to a halt in the middle of the night on 29th November when Vestas Wind slammed into the coral reefs of the Cargados Shoals some 200 nautical miles northeast of the remote island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.


Visitors to the Volvo Ocean Race Village on Te Wero Island in the Viaduct Basin can share the experience through onboard video footage of the heart-stopping collision, from the first moment the boat brushed the coral reef, as it broke up dragging over the coral, and until the crew abandoned ship and took to the life rafts.


The dramatic nighttime footage was captured in real time by a permanently mounted camera on the communications tower behind the wheel.


The camera was activated by a special panic button near the helmsman’s feet, installed specifically to record cockpit action when everyone aboard is too busy to pause and pick up a camera.


The fixed position camera footage mixed with video shot on board by onboard reporter Brian Carlin forms a documentary shown daily in a big-screen screening every 15 minutes, accompanied by the unforgettable sounds of disintegrating carbon fibre and crashing waves.


“I remember everything about the collision,” recalled crew member Nicolai Sehested. “I didn’t even prepare myself for the impact, so I went flying over the wheel. I heard the carbon fibre hit the rock and I never want to hear that sound again.”


The boat has now been recovered and is being rebuilt in Spain and is expected to join later stages of the race.