Footage from the boat

ALICANTE, Spain, March 30 – Dongfeng Race Team broke their mast early on Monday (GMT, March 30) but nobody has been injured and there is no immediate danger to the crew.

The incident happened 240 nautical miles west of Cape Horn at 0315 UTC on Monday, in the final hours of the night local time onboard Dongfeng.

The crew reported that the mast broke above the third spreader, the top section of the mast.

They are not planning to continue racing on this leg and are heading towards Ushuaia, Argentina, under sail, via the Beagle Channel, as their eventual destination before Itajaí.

Reached via Inmarsat, a disappointed skipper Charles Caudrelier said: “I’m gutted. As you’ve seen from the position reports we have been, on purpose, backing off a bit, not attacking in any way.

“The mast broke without warning, in about 30 knots of wind. We are unable to sail safely on starboard tack, but we are able to make reasonable speed on port tack. We will head towards Ushuaia and assess our options for getting to Itajaí.”

The Dongfeng crew is now making headway to the entrance of the Beagle Channel, a strait on the extreme southern tip of South America. They are aiming for the entrance of Bahia Cook bay.

The team, who were joint top of the standings with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) at the start of Leg 5, will probably reach the entrance of the Beagle Channel at night, which is a tricky approach.

Alicante Race Control is providing navigational support. Should they decide to go to Strait of Magellan, Race Control will provide additional information too.

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) are 425 nautical miles behind them.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is aware of the situation and is on standby to help if necessary.

The Volvo Ocean Race is in constant contact with Caudrelier and are establishing the full extent of the damage to ensure they give him the support he needs to deal with the situation.

Volvo Ocean Race will give more information as it becomes available.


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