Thursday, April 5, 2012

Frostad Not Happy With Groupama's Dismast - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Groupama 4 were leading Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race but as they charged up the east coast of Brazil disaster struck early this morning and they lost their mast. These heartbreaking images captured by Media Crew Member Yann Riou say it all.
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Currently only PUMA Racing and Team Telefonica are actually racing towards the next port, Itajai. Groupama have decided to suspend racing and now join CAMPER ETNZ who have also been forced to suspend racing as they pop into to Chile for repairs to their bow. Both Team Sanya and Abu Dhabi have retired.
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad is not a happy camper and wants to know why these boats keep falling apart. Well, this is high performance ocean racing and things go wrong all the time as Frostad knows having competed in four of these races himself. Even with the best sailors in the world, racing onboard the best racing boats created by the world's leading yacht designers decked out with the best equipment, things go wrong and it seems to be happening a lot in this edition of the race.
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
"It's too early to conclude exactly why this has happened but we are obviously concerned about seeing so many incidents of damage to our boats both in this leg and in the race as a whole," Frostad said today in a statement.

"It is not acceptable that in a race like this we have so many failures. It is not unusual for boats to suffer problems, and sailors and shore teams are used to having to deal with some issues with their boats, but this has been on a bigger scale than in the past.

"It's important that we don't leap to any conclusions about why these breakages have happened. Some of them are clearly not related. However, we will take the current issues into account as we make decisions on rules and technology we will be using in the future.

"We have already put in a lot of work, discussing with teams, designers and all other stakeholders about the boats and the rules we will use in the future, and we expect to be in a position to announce a decision on that before the end of the current race.

"For the time being, our focus continues to be on the safety of the sailors. We are doing everything we can to help Groupama, and the rest of the teams not currently sailing, get back in the race as soon as possible."

Lulu Roseman

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