Volvo Ocean Race Yacht Dismasts in Atlantic Ocean

A yacht in the Volvo Ocean Race dismasted Friday in the Atlantic Ocean, the third major setback to a team this week in the bluewater classic.

A short time later, another yacht reported it had slowed southeast of the Falkland Islands to check unspecified damage to its rigging.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a joint American-Danish team, reported its mast broke just above the first spreader while the sloop was sailing in 25-30 knots of wind and 10-foot (3-meter) waves. The mast had to be cut away to avoid damaging the hull.

The crew was reported safe and motoring to the Falkland Islands some 100 miles to the northwest. The team will have to figure out how to get the 65-foot sloop to Itajai, Brazil, where Leg 7 will finish.

In late January, Vestas 11th Hour Racing collided with a fishing boat off Hong Kong, killing one fisherman and damaging the yacht. Vestas 11th Hour Racing, led by Americans Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, had to ship the boat to Auckland, New Zealand, to repair a big hole in its port bow, forcing it to miss two legs.

On Monday, British sailor John Fisher was lost in the Southern Ocean in gale-force conditions after getting knocked off Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. The crew turned back but couldn't find Fisher, 47.

On Thursday, MAPFRE had to suspend racing for 13 hours near Cape Horn for to repair damage to its mast and mainsail. The Spanish-flagged boat, the overall race leader, is more than 200 miles behind Leg 7 leader Team Brunel.

Not long after Vestas 11th Hour Racing reported its dismasting, Turn the Tide on Plastic informed race control it had slowed to assess damage to one of the top spreaders, which help support the mast.

The damage comes after the boats experienced a rough trip through the Southern Ocean after the start of the leg in Auckland, New Zealand.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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