When the Volvo Ocean Race granted a redress hearing for Vestas 11th Hour Racing, it brought forth more details surrounding the collision they incurred while 30 nm from the finish in Hong Kong of Leg 4 which began in Australia.
Just after 0100 hours on the morning of January 20 (local Hong Kong time), Vestas collided with a fishing vessel, necessitating the rescue of nine Chinese fishermen plus one additional person that perished. For six weeks following the accident, very little was revealed as the team chose to remain silent throughout the investigation
The only details came from photos which showed significant damage to the port side bow near the waterline along with damage under the bow.
When the team felt able to speak, they released a statement on March 2 by Team Director Mark Towill which said how they had identified several boats they were approaching but had an unexpected collision with a boat that was not previously detected.
On March 12, when the International Jury heard their request for redress, the team was quoting RRS 62.1(b), which addresses damage with a vessel not racing that was required to keep clear, and IRPCAS, which are the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
The jury decision was to not give redress. Here is the documentation:
• The conditions were 20-23 knots of wind and 1 meter waves. It was at night, cloudy and dark with at least 2 miles of visibility.
• Vestas was sailing on starboard tack with a speed of about 20 knots, with full mainsail, fractional code zero and J3 staysail.
• About 1 minute before the incident, Vestas luffed 10-12 degrees to pass in front of a vessel.
• Another vessel with some light appeared approximately 20 meters in front of Vestas on the leeward side of her bow and they collided about 2 seconds later with serious damage to
• The other vessel‘s type, activity, course and speed have not been identified.
• The sequence and the precise points of impact between the two vessels have not been identified.
On the evidence presented, the jury cannot be satisfied which IRPCAS rule applied and therefore which vessel was required to keep out of the way. Therefore, the conditions of RRS 62.1(b) are not met.
2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
• Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
• Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
• MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
• Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
• Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
• Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
• Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)
Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.
Source: Volvo Ocean Race, Scuttlebutt